Apple releasing iPad Pro keyboard with trackpad later in 2020

Posted:
in iPad edited February 2020
According to sources familiar with the matter, Apple is releasing an iPad Pro keyboard with a trackpad later in 2020 to help positioning of the tablet against competitors.

Apple Smart Keyboard Folio with 10.2-inch iPad
Apple Smart Keyboard Folio with 10.2-inch iPad


A report on Thursday afternoon claims that the keyboard is being readied for mass production by Foxconn. While most rumors suggest that there is an iPad Pro update expected in the spring of 2020, Thursday's report claims that the accessory will be released alongside an update later in 2020.

The report by The Information claims that Apple has been evaluating an iPad keyboard with a trackpad for several years. Other designs reportedly include models with capacitive keys that "mimic the response of mechanical keys but with sensors."

The keyboard is expected to be made of the same materials as the existing Smart Keyboard Folio for the iPad Pro. No discussion was made about keyboard and trackpad layout on the case, but presumably it would mimic the MacBook Air layout with a keyboard above the trackpad on the device.

Apple would have to formalize cursor input device access, though. At present, mouse and trackpad compatibility is toggled in the Accessibility menu, and pointing precision isn't notably larger than what a finger would provide.

Rumors surrounding the 2020 refresh of the iPad Pro lineup suggest it could follow the iPhone 11 lineup by having a square camera bump and a triple-camera setup, along with some speculation of it having a glass back. Models with 11-inch and 12.9-inch displays are thought to be on the way, and use the A13X chip.

Some supply chain sources have suggested Apple could introduce a 12-inch model, though it is unclear if that will occur due to the closeness to the 12.9-inch form factor that has been a mainstay for the product line.

There has also been speculation for a release of the iPad Pro later in 2020, equipped with a Mini LED display.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    Nice!  I’ve wanted better cursor repositioning.  Now just need easier multitasking.  Something as simple as returning to the home screen for half of a split screen would help significantly.  

    Probably not happening any time soon, but as iPads are getting more powerful, a full version of Xcode would be nice.  Even if SwiftUI only for interface building.
    edited February 2020 digital_guyGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 36
    thttht Posts: 4,492member
    For me, the biggest feature for updated iPad Pro models is 8 GB of RAM. 

    Going crazy a bit here, BTO options for 16 GB RAM, iPadOS settings to turn on virtual memory, and to turn off auto-closing of apps would be really nice too. 
    canukstormwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 36
    Finally!   Despite all the claims of Apple never making a "toaster/fridge", the iPad is growing up to become a real -- or more correctly -- complete computer.   Way to go Apple!

    But what is really interesting is the timing:   Just days ago a rumor circulated that Apple will be dropping "A Series" processor (as used in the iPad) into MacBooks.

    I applaud Apple for having the courage to do the right thing(s) and progress up to the next level rather sit safely on the status quo -- because, "We've always done it this way!".
    leehammwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 36
    Finally!   Despite all the claims of Apple never making a "toaster/fridge", the iPad is growing up to become a real -- or more correctly -- complete computer.   Way to go Apple!

    But what is really interesting is the timing:   Just days ago a rumor circulated that Apple will be dropping "A Series" processor (as used in the iPad) into MacBooks.

    I applaud Apple for having the courage to do the right thing(s) and progress up to the next level rather sit safely on the status quo -- because, "We've always done it this way!".
    That's still possible.
  • Reply 6 of 36
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,513administrator
    I have no idea how Burgess got from point A to B logically on that.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 36
    toaster meet fridge. 

    but, but apple is brave! LOL 
  • Reply 8 of 36
    At least with this, the trackpad will have to work with the iPad Pro. Unlike Apple's own mice that work with the iPad Pro, when they feel like it; but mostly not at all.
  • Reply 9 of 36
    toaster meet fridge. 

    but, but apple is brave! LOL 
    Still not a toaster fridge, even if true, since that was usually in reference to giving making Macs touchscreens. I imagine adding a trackpad to iPadOS will work identical to a finger and they won’t be changing its precision as that would encourage devs to build GUIs for it rather than a finger. Apple won’t do that. This would just make working from a notebook position easier because it discourages tapping on the screen — opposite than adding touch to Macs to encourage tapping on the screen. 
    edited February 2020 macplusplusGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 36
    qwweraqwwera Posts: 281member
    toaster meet fridge. 

    but, but apple is brave! LOL 
    Yes, a computer with a keyboard! The ultimate toaster fridge combo!
    GeorgeBMacrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 36
    “Apple would have to formalize cursor input device access, though.”

    this. Currently it feels like Apple doesn’t really want to make mouse access a “thing”, which I think is a mistake - they should have enabled mouse access in iOS years ago.
    ITGUYINSDwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 36
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,522member
    I'm probably the odd man out, but I've not missed "not" having a mouse in the iPad since the recent changes to allow precise cursor positioning. Multitasking on the iPad could use a rethink, I would say, but I kind of like the default "focus mode" really ... I've never needed to have more than two apps open at the same time, and even then it's only long enough to drag something from one app into the other app (web image into notes, text from one app into another text app, et al).

    I find myself more productive on the iPad than I am on any other machine I have access to (MBPs, mostly) thanks to that forced "focus" of full-screen as default (oddly, full-screen on my MBP drives me crazy though -- odd, I know).

    One other point: just because something is located in Accessibility doesn't mean it's not a "real feature." The first thing I did when I got my latest MBP was turn on three-finger drag ... which is (now) an Accessibility feature.
    MplsP
  • Reply 13 of 36
    thttht Posts: 4,492member
    chasm said:
    I'm probably the odd man out, but I've not missed "not" having a mouse in the iPad since the recent changes to allow precise cursor positioning. Multitasking on the iPad could use a rethink, I would say, but I kind of like the default "focus mode" really ... I've never needed to have more than two apps open at the same time, and even then it's only long enough to drag something from one app into the other app (web image into notes, text from one app into another text app, et al).

    I find myself more productive on the iPad than I am on any other machine I have access to (MBPs, mostly) thanks to that forced "focus" of full-screen as default (oddly, full-screen on my MBP drives me crazy though -- odd, I know).

    One other point: just because something is located in Accessibility doesn't mean it's not a "real feature." The first thing I did when I got my latest MBP was turn on three-finger drag ... which is (now) an Accessibility feature.
    Do you use an external keyboard?

    I have no desire whatsoever for an external keyboard or a mouse/trackpad for my iPad Pro 10.5. Apple should provide the support, but I hope their first priority is refining the Touch UI, including the software keyboard. Lots of refinement and bugs to fix. This recent round of iPad complaints have been frustrating. It seems there are a lot of vocal people like Gruber who really don’t know how to use an iPad, and really prefer the macOS UI they’ve been using for decades now. I’m reading all these criticisms, wondering if these purported computer “artisans” have been boxed in by decades of WIMP UI usage, and can’t adjust to different ways to do things anymore. 

    There are a lot of things that needs to be done with iPadOS. Making it operate like a laptop is pretty low on my list.
  • Reply 14 of 36
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,606member
    This is click bait to drive traffic to the information and should be taken with a HUGE pinch of salt. If it were true then you would see signs of enhanced input support in the betas as current accessibility features are for assistive devices hence the clunky support for mouse and trackpad.
    darkvader
  • Reply 15 of 36
    irelandireland Posts: 17,785member
    One single capacitive surface with function to move a single finger around to move the cursor, and two fingers for scrolling and pressing down on key areas for typing, as expected. I intuitively tried to do this recently in an authorised Apple reseller forgetting no such function had been added. Moving around while on a home screen would put a big highlight around an icon.
    edited February 2020
  • Reply 16 of 36
    tht said:
    chasm said:
    I'm probably the odd man out, but I've not missed "not" having a mouse in the iPad since the recent changes to allow precise cursor positioning. Multitasking on the iPad could use a rethink, I would say, but I kind of like the default "focus mode" really ... I've never needed to have more than two apps open at the same time, and even then it's only long enough to drag something from one app into the other app (web image into notes, text from one app into another text app, et al).

    I find myself more productive on the iPad than I am on any other machine I have access to (MBPs, mostly) thanks to that forced "focus" of full-screen as default (oddly, full-screen on my MBP drives me crazy though -- odd, I know).

    One other point: just because something is located in Accessibility doesn't mean it's not a "real feature." The first thing I did when I got my latest MBP was turn on three-finger drag ... which is (now) an Accessibility feature.
    Do you use an external keyboard?

    I have no desire whatsoever for an external keyboard or a mouse/trackpad for my iPad Pro 10.5. Apple should provide the support, but I hope their first priority is refining the Touch UI, including the software keyboard. Lots of refinement and bugs to fix. This recent round of iPad complaints have been frustrating. It seems there are a lot of vocal people like Gruber who really don’t know how to use an iPad, and really prefer the macOS UI they’ve been using for decades now. I’m reading all these criticisms, wondering if these purported computer “artisans” have been boxed in by decades of WIMP UI usage, and can’t adjust to different ways to do things anymore. 

    There are a lot of things that needs to be done with iPadOS. Making it operate like a laptop is pretty low on my list.

    It seems most of the arguments against a trackpad / mouse for the iPad have taken some variation of the "either / or" type of argument.
    I think the truth is two fold:
    1)  certain tasks work better with a touch screen and others work best with a mouse.
    2)  With this, you have access to both -- so you can use whichever one best suits the task and your preferences.

    razorpit
  • Reply 17 of 36
    Finally!   Despite all the claims of Apple never making a "toaster/fridge", the iPad is growing up to become a real -- or more correctly -- complete computer.   Way to go Apple!

    But what is really interesting is the timing:   Just days ago a rumor circulated that Apple will be dropping "A Series" processor (as used in the iPad) into MacBooks.

    I applaud Apple for having the courage to do the right thing(s) and progress up to the next level rather sit safely on the status quo -- because, "We've always done it this way!".
    That's still possible.

    Yes, that was my point.  Actually, I would say probable or possibly inevitable.  So my real point was the convergence of the iPad and the MacBook:   the iPad becomes more Mac-like and the Mac becomes more iPad like.   I don't think one will ever replace the other because each still has its niche but its nice to see their capabilities expand into the other's realms. 
  • Reply 18 of 36
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,513administrator
    irnchriz said:
    This is click bait to drive traffic to the information and should be taken with a HUGE pinch of salt. If it were true then you would see signs of enhanced input support in the betas as current accessibility features are for assistive devices hence the clunky support for mouse and trackpad.
    This is addressed in the article.
  • Reply 19 of 36
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,251member
    toaster meet fridge. 

    but, but apple is brave! LOL 
    Still not a toaster fridge, even if true, since that was usually in reference to giving making Macs touchscreens. I imagine adding a trackpad to iPadOS will work identical to a finger and they won’t be changing its precision as that would encourage devs to build GUIs for it rather than a finger. Apple won’t do that. This would just make working from a notebook position easier because it discourages tapping on the screen — opposite than adding touch to Macs to encourage tapping on the screen. 
    The toaster / fridge may not apply to the Mac/MacBook, but it may match the iPad, even more if they add trackpad to the keyboard, as the article mentions.  But at the same time, it may clear the confusion Apple created of criticizing touchscreen notebook and giving the same experience we have today in the iPad + Smart Keyboard.  
    edited February 2020
  • Reply 20 of 36
    toaster meet fridge. 

    but, but apple is brave! LOL 
    Your point is somewhat valid, but remember that folks said that about trying to put a camera, music player, and phone into the same device. Thanks to a few technical advances, most iPhone owners seem to think that worked out OK.
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