One of the ideas I’ve championed for a few years now is that using the iPad for hours a day is a struggle ergonomically. When I am at my desk, I like having a large monitor, external keyboard, and external mouse. I can work for hours at a time without taking my hands off the keyboard and mouse. When I’ve tried to use the iPad in the same situation, my arm gets tired of always touching the screen. In iPadOS 13, Apple introduced cursor support as an accessibility feature. After almost a year of “tinkering” with the feature, I am 100% of the opinion that iPadOS needs full mouse support to achieve its full potential. With iOS 13.4 now available, I am glad we are seeing expanded mouse support in iPadOS.
My dream for computing is to have a device that I can dock into “workstation” mode when I am at work to have access to all the accessories I need, but retain the portability when I am traveling or want to do light reading on the couch at night. Right now, I have an iPad for the latter, but a MacBook Pro for the former. The iPad Pro is very comparable to my MacBook Pro in terms of power, and if the rumors are true, a future laptop from Apple will be running the ARM processor as well. Why can’t I have both?
In a recent iPad Pro commercial, Apple shows off what, for me, is the most exciting thing I’ve seen in a while. The full video is below, but then I’ll paste the scene I am talking about.
Towards the end, we see someone picking up the iPad off the dock and taking it with them. This situation could lead to exactly what I want from the future of computing: one computer to rule them all.
iPadOS mouse support
The iPad already has full-blown external keyboard support. It has basic support for external monitors. The piece that is was missing until recently is full-blown iPadOS mouse support. While some might argue that introducing a cursor into iPadOS will make the iPad harder to learn for new users, I would say that it’s critical for the continued growth of the product.
I don’t think that anyone likes having to buy a Macbook Pro and an iPad. I think most people would love to simplify down into a single device for productivity, entertainment, and communications if the iPad could feel more like a Mac when it’s sitting on a desk. It hopefully will solve one of the big complaints I have about iPadOS: text selection. Despite improvements in recent years, text selection is still one of the weakest areas of iPadOS. A finger is too big to be able to select text with the precision of a cursor, and it’s also more tiresome.
Over the last five years, the iPhone has gotten better at iPad type tasks than the iPad has gotten better at Mac tasks. Some of this has to do with the complexity of multitasking on the iPad, but I believe a lot of it has to do with proper cursor support. As the iPad adds full cursor support, I hope to have my dream computing setup. I could ‘dock’ it at work with a large screen and external accessories, but have a portable machine whenever I needed it.
What do you think? Will full-blown iPadOS mouse support help you go iPad as your primary machine?