The iPad will get better keyboard support and, possibly, a trackpad

The iPad will get better keyboard support and, possibly, a trackpad

English   •   03 mars 2020

There have been two rumours / beta features on the iPad lately that seems to fit very well with the trend initiated last year with the release of iPad OS.

First, iOS 13.4 beta expands the keyboard setup with new options to remap the key with modifiers. This is something I am looking forward as I always remap the caps-lock key to control key on my laptop, as I never found a use for caps-lock.

Regarding the new rumours, it seems that it is expected that Apple will release a new keyboard with a trackpad for the iPad Pro. It means that Apple would like to make a step further to make the iPad both a great tablet, but also a more general-purpose computing device, by adding a pointing device. It is clear unclear if the trackpad would be use as a mouse pointer or as a text selection and manipulation tool, for example.

I would like to put those evolutions in perspective with the release of iPadOS. While multitasking has been promoted as the main features, it still needs work. However, the real game changer has been Safari browser improvements. It is not yet perfect, and I still have issues with some websites, but it is now really close to laptop browser experience.

It seems to me that Apple is trying to cover all the bases and would like to ensure that the iPad can be a perfect lightweight terminal, as well as being a great tablet. Nearly all business applications these days are web-based, or have a web version. Having a great keyboard support, touchscreen support, an alternative pointing device to use as a laptop, and excellent browser support would make it an even greater fit for corporate use cases.

When I am not programming, I tend to primarily use my iPad these days, as it has a great battery life, is lightweight. The iPad is also great for focusing during long writing sessions, as I tend to focus more on the current tasks. To be honest, using the iPad is also a good way for me to avoid using my Mac, that I find less reliable than my previous laptop. I am regularly losing the Wifi connection, and this is driving me crazy.

Finally, I can really see how I could benefit from better web and keyboard support, as I need to deal with various business online apps daily. I also occasionally use an SSH client to manage servers and this use case would benefit as well from those improvements. Let's see what finally get announced and released in the coming weeks.