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WWDC isn’t too far away, and that means Apple is gearing up to announce all the new features we can expect when iOS 13 drops this September alongside a suite of new iPhones.
Though we won’t know for sure what’s in store until the official keynote in early June, already eagle-eyed developers and those with connections to Apple have been piecing together some scraps of information about iOS 13, and one tidbit in particular could usher in a complete change for the capabilities of the system.
Mouse support for iPad
Can you imagine using a regular computer mouse with your iPad? It’s a feature that has long been requested by would-be pro users turned off by the limitations of a touch-screen interface, and it looks like there’s a good chance it will be added this year.
Apparently, rudimentary cursor support has been in the code of iOS for a while now, but it would take a great deal more work to implement it properly. Actions with a mouse can’t fully replicate those you can do with touch – no pinch to zoom, for example, and no pressure sensitivity. That means interactions would have to be rethought by Apple’s designers to ensure everything still works properly with mouse support.
But it looks like Apple has been working on the problem for some time now. Last year we saw Apple release Mac versions of popular iOS software including the News app, and it has developed a system to make it easier to develop apps for both platforms simultaneously. This behind-the-scenes work has likely made cursor support more of a priority.
There’s no indication that this would be a flagship feature aimed at the general public – rather, support for a USB-C mouse or trackpad would be targeted as an accessibility feature for those who struggle with regular touch-based interfaces. That said, it could open up a whole world of potential for new pro-level apps.
Plenty of creative software like video editors and 3D modeling programs would be a whole lot more usable on iPad with conventional mouse and keyboard support, and it would give fresh ammunition to those who believe the device can fully replace a computer for professionals.
If controlling an iPad with a mouse doesn’t interest you, we have slightly less pro-level news about iOS 13. It looks as though Apple will further enhance its roster of face-tracking “Animoji” characters this year, adding a cow, a mouse, an octopus, and a generic yellow emoji face. If that’s not enough to get you excited about iOS 13…