Today Apple released the latest updates for its suite of software platforms, most notable of which are iOS and iPadOS 13.4. Timed with the release of the latest iPad Pro models, the hallmark features include brand new systemwide support for mouse and trackpad on iPad, plus a handful of external keyboard enhancements. Shared folders for iCloud Drive is the other big addition – first announced at WWDC last June then delayed out of the initial 13.0 release, iCloud users may finally be able to consider reducing their Dropbox dependency. Beyond those highlights, Apple has also included smaller OS tweaks in a variety of areas.
Posts tagged with "keyboard"
We can answer some of your questions about how trackpad support will work today and we’ll get a chance to actually use it ourselves in the public beta. In the meantime, here’s what we definitely know about how it will work based on videos Apple has released publicly and on a video presentation given to reporters this morning.
Bohn gives a great bullet-point walkthrough of how iPadOS handles input from a trackpad or mouse, complete with the roster of navigation gestures supported by trackpads.
Best of all, however, the article includes a video Apple created in which Craig Federighi, Apple’s software head, demos the trackpad on the iPad Pro’s new Magic Keyboard. Presumably it’s exactly what Federighi would have done if the company had been able to introduce the iPad Pro at a press event.
Today following Apple’s debut of the new iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard, and cursor support coming to all iPad models that can run iPadOS 13.4, Logitech has announced a brand new accessory coming in May: the Combo Touch, which brings a keyboard case with trackpad to the iPad (7th generation), iPad Air, and 10.5-inch iPad Pro. From the product listing on Apple’s online store:
Logitech’s Combo Touch for iPad combines a precision trackpad with a full-size backlit keyboard…Enjoy comfortable typing on a full-size keyboard with backlit keys that are perfect for working in dark environments like on an airplane or late at night. And the flexible design supports four use modes for extra versatility.
Despite all modern iPads gaining full cursor support, Apple currently only offers a first-party keyboard with built-in trackpad for the iPad Pro, not any other iPad model. Filling that gap, Logitech’s Combo Touch will be available for $149.95 as a great solution for users of other modern iPads. The Combo Touch covers the front and back of the iPad, includes a full keyboard and trackpad, and even offers a dedicated holder for the Apple Pencil. Notably, the device’s trackpad will also support all the same multitouch gestures that Apple’s Magic Keyboard offers.
Between Apple’s Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro, and Logitech’s Combo Touch covering the iPad, iPad Air, and 10.5-inch iPad Pro, the only modern iPad where a keyboard case with trackpad isn’t being offered is the iPad mini.
With a press release published earlier today, Apple officially announced the fourth generation of its iPad Pro line. The new iPad Pro models – available, as with the current generation, in 11-inch and 12.9-inch flavors – feature the all-new A12Z Bionic chip, a new camera system that includes an ultra-wide camera and LiDAR scanner for augmented reality, and integration with a long-awaited accessory, which will become available starting in May: the new Magic Keyboard with trackpad.
What makes the iPad great is its ultimate flexibility. When I write about iPad keyboards, people inevitably say: Why don’t you just use a MacBook, already?
But the iPad lets me tear off the keyboard when I’m not using it, and a MacBook doesn’t. I can use my same iPad Pro, and all the same apps, when my iPad Pro is completely naked, when it’s attached to a keyboard, when I have an Apple Pencil in my hand, and yes, even when I’ve got a Bluetooth mouse attached.
This is why I love the iPad so much. It’s everything I want it to be, when I want it to be that—and not when I don’t. Yes, there are definitely tasks my Mac is much better at performing, and in those cases using an iPad can be a compromise. But using a MacBook that can’t be transformed into a light touchscreen tablet is also a compromise. And unlike the current Windows experience, I don’t have to retreat into a weird faux-Mac interface to get real work done.
As I’ve argued many times before, the iPad’s greatest strength is its ability to transform into different types of computer depending on what you need. Here’s how I concluded my Beyond the Tablet story last year:
At a fundamental level, after seven years of daily iPad usage, I believe in the idea of a computer that can transform into different form factors. The iPad is such a device: it gives me the freedom to use it as a tablet with 4G while getting some lightweight work done at the beach, but it becomes a laptop when paired with a keyboard, and it turns into a workstation when hooked up to an external display, a USB keyboard, and a good pair of headphones. For me, the iPad is the ultimate expression of the modern portable computer: a one-of-a-kind device that morphs and scales along with my habits, needs, and lifestyle choices.
A few years ago, I described the iPad as a “liberating” experience that married power to portability and allowed me to work from anywhere. I stand by that concept, but I’ll revise it for 2019: the iPad is a liberating device that transcends its form factor. Its range of configurations, combined with a new generation of powerful iOS apps, delivers a flexible experience that eludes classification.
Adding a trackpad and native support for external pointing devices to UIKit wouldn’t turn the iPad into a laptop: it would just add to the list of potential, optional configurations for the device. That’s been true for a while with other accessories; I don’t see why mice and trackpads shouldn’t be next.
Today Brydge announced the Pro+ keyboard for the iPad Pro, which incorporates a trackpad. The keyboard was first revealed in connection with a lawsuit filed by Brydge against another keyboard maker that Brydge says violated a patent on the company’s keyboard hinge. Although Brydge’s official announcement doesn’t disclose when it will begin taking pre-orders, the company says it will be soon. Brydge also says that the first 500 pre-orders will be shipped in late February, with the remaining pre-orders shipping in late March.
With iPadOS 13, Apple added accessibility support for pointing devices like mice and trackpads. Pointing devices can be connected via USB or Bluetooth using iPadOS’s Assistive Touch Accessibility feature, which permits navigation of the OS’s UI. Although the experience of using a pointing device with an iPad Pro partly resembles using one with a Mac, it’s also different and more limited. As Federico explained in his iOS and iPadOS 13 review:
The first and most important difference between iPadOS and macOS is that UIKit is still designed and optimized for touch input. When you enable mouse support in iPadOS, you’ll notice that the system won’t react to the hover state of the pointer: if you hover over a button in a toolbar, you won’t see a tooltip; if you wait with the cursor over the edge of a document, you won’t see a scroll bar; in Safari, hovering over drop down menus of a webpage will not automatically expand and collapse them.
I’ve used iPadOS 13 with a Logitech MX Master Mouse 3S and agree with Federico’s assessment that if you go into mouse or trackpad use on iPadOS expecting precisely the same sort of experience as a Mac, you’re likely to be disappointed. Still, the feature opens up exciting possibilities beyond the accessibility needs it addresses, such as the ability to assign shortcuts to button presses.
Brydge’s new keyboard closely resembles past models but adds a trackpad to the center of the wrist rest. The keyboard comes in two sizes to accommodate the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, connects via Bluetooth 4.1, has three levels of backlighting, 3-month battery life, and is space gray. With the trackpad, Brydge says users will also be able to open the dock with a two-finger tap on the trackpad and trigger App Exposé with a three-finger tap. Users will also be able to tap the bottom left or right-hand corners of their iPad Pro’s screen to return to the Home screen.
The 11-inch model of the Pro+ will cost $199.99, and the 12.9-inch version will be $229.99. If you are interested in ordering the Pro+, Brydge encourages registering on its website to receive an alert by email when pre-orders begin.
Separately, Brydge announced a standalone trackpad, which should appeal to existing Brydge keyboard owners who want to add a complementary trackpad without purchasing the Pro+. Brydge hasn’t disclosed much about the standalone version of its trackpad, although the company says it is coming soon, will be glass with a ‘Multi-Touch Engine,’ connect using Bluetooth 4.1, and will have a 3-month per charge battery life.
It will be interesting to see how Brydge’s Pro+ keyboard and standalone trackpad do with users. Off-the-shelf pointing device support was an important addition to iPadOS 13 for people who need the feature for accessibility reasons. I’ve experimented with the feature on several occasions, but until it’s more refined, I have a hard time seeing myself using a pointing device with my iPad Pro regularly. As a result, I’m not that interested in the Brydge Pro+, but I’ll withhold my final judgment on that score until I’ve seen reviews by people who have used production models of the device and tried one myself. I also wouldn’t be surprised if iPadOS 14 strengthens mouse and trackpad support, making the Pro+ an even more attractive option later this year.
Apple updated its MacBook Pros today with new, faster processors and changes to the notebook line’s keyboard mechanism. According to an Apple press release:
The 15-inch MacBook Pro now features faster 6- and 8-core Intel Core processors, delivering Turbo Boost speeds up to 5.0 GHz, while the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar features faster quad-core processors with Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.7 GHz.
Apple says that the new 15-inch MacBook Pro with an 8-core processor is up to two times faster than the previous top-end quad-core model. To put that performance in perspective, Apple claims that:
- Music producers can play back massive multi-track projects with up to two times more Alchemy plug-ins in Logic Pro X.
- 3D designers can render scenes up to two times faster in Maya Arnold.
- Photographers can apply complex edits and filters up to 75 percent faster in Photoshop.
- Developers can compile code up to 65 percent faster in Xcode.
- Scientists and researchers can compute complex fluid dynamics simulations up to 50 percent faster in TetrUSS.
- Video editors can edit up to 11 simultaneous multicam streams of 4K video in Final Cut Pro X.
Interestingly, Apple’s press release makes no mention of the MacBook Pro’s keyboard. However, the company spoke to Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch who was told:
- The MacBook Pro keyboard mechanism has had a materials change in the mechanism. Apple says that this new keyboard mechanism composition will substantially reduce the double type/no type issue. Apple will not specify what it has done, but doubtless tear-downs of the keyboard will reveal what has been updated.
- Though Apple believes that this change will greatly reduce the issue, it is also including all butterfly keyboards across its notebook line into its Keyboard Service Program. This means that current MacBook Pros and even the models being released today will have keyboard repairs covered at no cost, in warranty and out of warranty.
- Apple tells me that repair times for keyboards have been longer than they would like. It is making substantial improvements to repair processes in Apple Stores to make repairs faster for customers with issues.
According to Panzarino, failing third-generation keyboards will be replaced with the new fourth-generation keyboard found in these updated MacBook Pros.
It’s not unusual for Apple to release product updates shortly before a major event that don’t make the cut for the keynote presentation. Notebooks with faster CPUs fall squarely into that category. With the company’s annual developer conference just around the corner, today’s announcement is likely also be designed to try to satisfy one its biggest pro user groups that the company is trying to put keyboard issues behind it. However, only time will tell whether this version of the MacBook Pro’s keyboard is more reliable than prior iterations.
The Touchtype Pro is a clever new accessory created by Salman Sajid that aims to combine the iPad Pro with Apple’s Magic Keyboard using a flexible cover case and magnets. Sajid launched a campaign for the product earlier this month on Kickstarter, where you can check out more details about pricing and the design process of the Touchtype Pro. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early production unit before the Kickstarter went live and I’ve been using the Touchtype Pro with my 2018 12.9” iPad Pro for the past few weeks. After sharing some first impressions on Connected, I wanted to post a few more thoughts here, along with some photos.
Logitech has announced new keyboards for the 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pros that it calls the Slim Folio Pro. The keyboard cases cost less than a comparable Apple Smart Keyboard Folios and include features that Apple’s cases don’t, but Logitech’s offerings come with their own set of trade-offs.