Mouse support over USB-C could arrive for iPad Pro in iOS 13

Posted:
in iOS
Apple could include the ability to use a mouse or trackpad within iOS 13, a report suggests, which beyond accessibility could enable the iPad or iPad Pro to more directly compete with notebooks and other devices that could be used as a complete computer replacement.

2018 iPad Pro
2018 iPad Pro


The iPad Pro range is pitched as an ideal device for working, as an alternate to the MacBook Pro lineup that is highly portable due to its tablet form. While iPads are highly versatile, the addition of mouse support could be coming to the platform in iOS 13, and could feature during WWDC on June 3.

Speaking on the Connected podcast, MacStories editor Federico Viticci revealed an interest in the idea of mouse support, with conversations with others suggesting it could be part of the AssistiveTouch accessibility feature. In researching the possibility, it was found it is possible to have a cursor in iOS when used with the right accessibility hardware, and has been so for years.

According to Viticci's sources, a USB-C mouse could be used in a similar fashion in the future, plugged directly into the iPad Pro's USB-C port without any extra adapters.

A later tweet from developer Steve Troughton-Smith corroborated the rumors, claiming the feature "is indeed in the works."

If you missed last week's @_connectedfm, @viticci had a pretty interesting scoop that he'd been sitting on re mouse support coming to iPad as an accessibility feature. As far as I'm aware, that *is* indeed in the works. I feel like every pro user will turn that on, day one

-- Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith)


While the use of a USB-C connection may facilitate the use of a mouse or trackpad on the iPad Pro, it is likely that Apple will also turn to other ways of interacting with mice, if it is indeed working on the feature. A plethora of Bluetooth mice are on the market, including Apple's own, and it would make sense for Apple to enable support for those devices, rather than forcing users to acquire a USB-C mouse or an adapter to attach USB-A versions.

The use of Bluetooth also opens up the possibility for mouse support to be added to iPads and older iPad Pro models, which use Lightning instead of USB-C connections.

The timing of the rumors may also be due to Apple's Marzipan project, which, greatly simplified, enables apps produced for iOS to be ported to macOS with less friction than before. As Marzipan apps would need to accept input from a mouse, it makes sense for Apple to extend that functionality over to iOS.

Other elements iOS 13 is touted to introduce include changes to photo management, a "dark mode" to match macOS, and a universal "undo" gesture.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 55
    So the next logical step would be to get OS X to run on the iPad. It would be a great device if they had it run as OS X when it was docked with a keyboard/trackpad, and run as iOS when removed from the keyboard. The apps could handoff to each other, so if you were working on something in OS X and moved to the iPad, you could continue where you left off. 
    williamlondonmacroninvukasikawatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 55
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 625member

    It sounds crazy, but I think this is 100% true, and I think Marzipan is the beginning of the end for the Mac. Although I was expecting this to come along around 2021, after Marzipan apps had become somewhat commonplace.

    The argument against pointer devices on iOS (and touch on the Mac) is that the UI "isn't made for it." And that's still true. But what is changing is that one app can now have multiple UIs.

    The way this would work is, a Marzipan app works in "iPad mode" normally; snap in a keyboard with a trackpad, and it pops into "Mac mode." A lot of folks are gonna say this is Apple's "Windows 8", but it's a radically different approach.

    Platforms get adopted in waves. We saw this with word processors, then GUIs, then CD-ROMs, then Internet, then touch. We're already into the period where people get "read work done" (I see at least five folks working on iPads in the room I'm in right now); pointer-enabled iPads and Marzipan apps will make the iPad "good enough" (or even better) for a whole new wave of consumers.

    I think in about five years the Mac will be relegated to a lineup of one laptop, and one desktop, mostly aimed at developers and legacy buyers. In ten years it'll be done.

    What remains to be seen is, "can Marzipan apps be good?"

    edited April 23 wreighvenracerhomie3macroninvukasikamuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 3 of 55
    seankillseankill Posts: 477member
    If you follow all the people on here, this must not be true. They can’t figure out why you would ever need mouse support on an iPad. 

    For those using their iPads for something besides watching movies, sweet. A little overdue. 
    atomic101GeorgeBMacdysamoriamichelb76
  • Reply 4 of 55
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,106member
    Seems odd that it would be USB only,
    GeorgeBMacdysamoria
  • Reply 5 of 55
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,980member
    This is great!!! It will help Apple compete a lot. 
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 55
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 653member
    I've been, and still am, skeptical about the need for mouse support on the iPad. However, that said I HAVE found myself using the Apple-Pencil to click on things and pull down menus in web browsers and such so maybe. If it does come to the iPad, I wonder about backward compatibility. My 10.5 inch iPP doesn't have USB-C. I wonder if Bluetooth mice would work. I have my old MagicMouse in a drawer. Might want to drag it out to experiment. It depends on how it would be implemented. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 55
    And still no local file storage? That is more of a barrier for me than mouse support.
    williamlondonentropysdysamoriamuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 55
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,162member
    tzeshan said:
    This is great!!! It will help Apple compete a lot. 
    They already own the tablet market  lock, stock,, and barrel. When’s the last time you saw an Android tablet except on the display shelf at Sam’s Club.
    StrangeDayschiapscooter63cornchipmacronindysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 55
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,819member
    DAalseth said:
    I've been, and still am, skeptical about the need for mouse support on the iPad. However, that said I HAVE found myself using the Apple-Pencil to click on things and pull down menus in web browsers and such so maybe. If it does come to the iPad, I wonder about backward compatibility. My 10.5 inch iPP doesn't have USB-C. I wonder if Bluetooth mice would work. I have my old MagicMouse in a drawer. Might want to drag it out to experiment. It depends on how it would be implemented. 
    I used to think that. 

    One of the products that Autodesk has, Recap Pro, which is photogrammetry / laser scanning software, has a field version for capture that requires an iPad Pro, likely due to performance requirements. It makes sense to have it available for people that can use a mouse, or other USB pointer. I'd be inclined to add a SpaceMouse when software that supports it for 3D modeling on the iPad Pro arrives.
    macroninwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 55
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,009member
    Eric_WVGG said:

    It sounds crazy, but I think this is 100% true, and I think Marzipan is the beginning of the end for the Mac. 

    A reminder...



    ...while I’m aware Apple has changed its mind on things before, they’ve spoken to this topic specifically and so many times that I have no reason to doubt them. Marzipan ipad apps running on Mac still have a more general UI and I don’t see them replacing the window metaphor on macOS. 
    edited April 23 macpluspluschiacornchipsphericfastasleepdysamoriaroundaboutnowwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 55
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,953member
    Eric_WVGG said:

    It sounds crazy, but I think this is 100% true, and I think Marzipan is the beginning of the end for the Mac. 

    A reminder...



    ...while I’m aware Apple has changed its mind on things before, they’ve spoken to this topic specifically and so many times that I have no reason to doubt them. Marzipan ipad apps running on Mac still have a more general UI and I don’t see them replacing the window metaphor on macOS. 
    macOS does not have to merge with iOS for the Mac to end.  Those are two entirely different things.  

    @robbyx had a great post about it another thread.  This is what he wrote:

    "
    I completely disagree.  Marzipan lays the foundation for building apps that run on both macOS and iOS.  This is the first step to getting rid of macOS as we know it.  I don't think Apple is going to bother porting macOS to ARM and maintaining two different hardware platforms for the rather small number of Macs they sell every year.  Apple will need the big developers like Adobe, etc. to support the new hardware platform.  If the past is any indication, companies like Adobe will take their sweet time porting their apps (which won't be as simple as a recompile) - if they port them at all.

    It would be a complete shock if Apple ditched Intel chips across the entire Mac product line.  The fact that the rather small Mac market supports multiple virtualization solutions tells me that a lot of Mac customers run Windows apps.  A lot of people would abandon the Mac if it didn't have an Intel chip.  There's really no compelling argument for Apple to transition the Mac to ARM today.  It's not like Apple is bringing lots of new people into the Mac fold.  Mac sales have been more or less flat for ages, regardless of what is happening with Intel's chip pipeline.  An ARM-based Mac isn't going to attract new customers, but it will push many existing "pro" customers to Windows.

    Apple hasn't been excited about the Mac in years - and it shows.  I'm sure we'll get a beautiful, fancy, and incredibly overpriced Mac Pro this year to keep the "pro" market happy for another few years.  In the meantime, Apple will continue to push the iPad as a laptop replacement, as well as a general purpose computing device.  They sure aren't pushing the Mac!  What we're going to see with Marzipan is not unlike what we saw with Classic > Carbon > Cocoa.  Classic and Carbon are now gone.  One day AppKit will be gone too.  What makes a lot more sense is for Apple to bring iOS to the desktop when they transition to ARM rather than porting macOS to ARM.  I think Marzipan is the first step to making that happen."

    Also this:


    edited April 23
  • Reply 12 of 55
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 653member
    Eric_WVGG said:

    It sounds crazy, but I think this is 100% true, and I think Marzipan is the beginning of the end for the Mac. 

    A reminder...



    ...while I’m aware Apple has changed its mind on things before, they’ve spoken to this topic specifically and so many times that I have no reason to doubt them. Marzipan ipad apps running on Mac still have a more general UI and I don’t see them replacing the window metaphor on macOS. 
    macOS does not have to merge with iOS for the Mac to end.  Those are two entirely different things.  

    @robbyx had a great post about it another thread.  This is what he wrote:

    "I completely disagree.  Marzipan lays the foundation for building apps that run on both macOS and iOS.  This is the first step to getting rid of macOS as we know it.  I don't think Apple is going to bother porting macOS to ARM and maintaining two different hardware platforms for the rather small number of Macs they sell every year.  Apple will need the big developers like Adobe, etc. to support the new hardware platform.  If the past is any indication, companies like Adobe will take their sweet time porting their apps (which won't be as simple as a recompile) - if they port them at all.

    It would be a complete shock if Apple ditched Intel chips across the entire Mac product line.  The fact that the rather small Mac market supports multiple virtualization solutions tells me that a lot of Mac customers run Windows apps.  A lot of people would abandon the Mac if it didn't have an Intel chip.  There's really no compelling argument for Apple to transition the Mac to ARM today.  It's not like Apple is bringing lots of new people into the Mac fold.  Mac sales have been more or less flat for ages, regardless of what is happening with Intel's chip pipeline.  An ARM-based Mac isn't going to attract new customers, but it will push many existing "pro" customers to Windows.

    Apple hasn't been excited about the Mac in years - and it shows.  I'm sure we'll get a beautiful, fancy, and incredibly overpriced Mac Pro this year to keep the "pro" market happy for another few years.  In the meantime, Apple will continue to push the iPad as a laptop replacement, as well as a general purpose computing device.  They sure aren't pushing the Mac!  What we're going to see with Marzipan is not unlike what we saw with Classic > Carbon > Cocoa.  Classic and Carbon are now gone.  One day AppKit will be gone too.  What makes a lot more sense is for Apple to bring iOS to the desktop when they transition to ARM rather than porting macOS to ARM.  I think Marzipan is the first step to making that happen."

    Also this:


    A very good point. I’ve seen the end of my Mac Using days coming for some years now. I would not be at ALL surprised if my current 2016 iMac is my last. Way over half of my computing is done on the iPP and every iteration moves more stuff that way. The ability to drive an external monitor, which they will now, and a mouse, along with an interface and software to take advantage of them,  would more or less make the Mac redundant for me. 
    edited April 23
  • Reply 13 of 55
    qwweraqwwera Posts: 276member
    Awesome news. FINALLY!
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 55
    I would LOVE mouse support to work more quickly and efficient without having to touch the screen (other than for multiple-finger input).
    Seriously a reason to reconsider the iPad Pro as a productivity device. Hopefully in addition we see more multi-tasking and direct file access additions to the platform.
    GeorgeBMacmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 55
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,200member
    I’ve had no iMac for months, since mine finally died after 9 years of service and I’ve been surprisingly productive with just an iPad Pro. There have been many times I could’ve used my mouse to make myself more efficient, but this experience proves to me the ideal device for my workflow would be an iPad Pro with optional mouse and external drive OR a MacBook Pro with touchscreen.
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 55
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,953member
    I’ve had no iMac for months, since mine finally died after 9 years of service and I’ve been surprisingly productive with just an iPad Pro. There have been many times I could’ve used my mouse to make myself more efficient, but this experience proves to me the ideal device for my workflow would be an iPad Pro with optional mouse and external drive OR a MacBook Pro with touchscreen.
    The future of general purpose computing is where apps will be able to utilize multiple input methods and I think iOS / UIKit will allow Apple to do that better than bringing touch / Pencil to macOS.
  • Reply 17 of 55
    Yeah, it is odd. If they do it, they would allow wireless mice too I bet.
    Seems odd that it would be USB only,
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 18 of 55
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,200member
    I’ve had no iMac for months, since mine finally died after 9 years of service and I’ve been surprisingly productive with just an iPad Pro. There have been many times I could’ve used my mouse to make myself more efficient, but this experience proves to me the ideal device for my workflow would be an iPad Pro with optional mouse and external drive OR a MacBook Pro with touchscreen.
    The future of general purpose computing is where apps will be able to utilize multiple input methods and I think iOS / UIKit will allow Apple to do that better than bringing touch / Pencil to macOS.
    Either direction it goes, I’m ready for it.
  • Reply 19 of 55
    Speed1050Speed1050 Posts: 16unconfirmed, member
    I’d love mouse support for Excel and Affinity Designer (to a lesser extent Photo). Yes please. :)
  • Reply 20 of 55
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 625member
    Eric_WVGG said:

    It sounds crazy, but I think this is 100% true, and I think Marzipan is the beginning of the end for the Mac. 

    A reminder...

    (are you merging mac and ios? no!)

    ...while I’m aware Apple has changed its mind on things before, they’ve spoken to this topic specifically and so many times that I have no reason to doubt them. Marzipan ipad apps running on Mac still have a more general UI and I don’t see them replacing the window metaphor on macOS. 
    That's exactly my point, though. What I just described isn't merging OS's at all.

    (I also agree that we will probably never see ARM Macs due to this long-term strategy)

    I am also of the opinion that the window metaphor is effectively a failed experiment — I would bet that easily 90% of users use nearly all apps full-screen, even many professionals I know. But there are also credible rumors that floating windows are coming to iPad, so etc.
    edited April 23
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