Regular readers will know that I love my iPad. It goes with me almost everywhere, and I use it for everything from web-browsing to writing novels and screenplays.

To me, it’s a more important device than my iPhone. It’s the perfect balance of portability and screen size: sufficiently small and light to be carried routinely, but with a display large enough to be practical for most tasks.

I use it with a Brydge keyboard (review) when writing, but there’s one task that is still painful: precise selection of text …

Selecting a couple of sentences using the keyboard is tedious, and doing so with your finger is frustrating – I can’t count the number of times it has jumped into selecting the entire paragraph or just failed to accurately select the beginning or end of sentence. Selecting part of a sentence is even fiddlier.

In his piece on how Apple could put the ‘pro’ in the iPad Pro, my colleague Jeff last week suggested support for the Magic Mouse.

iOS doesn’t need to turn into macOS to be successful, but developers should have the option to support mouse input. To grow the iPad, Apple must submit to the fact that it needs to adopt indirect input from a mouse in order to support a more diverse type of application. I’m a firm believer that both touch and pointer support can live together harmoniously.

John Gruber also last night discussed the idea of a Smart Keyboard incorporating a trackpad, which David Chapman turned into the concept images shown above and below.

Note that neither of them are talking about trying to turn iOS into macOS, or to make a pointing device the primary input method – they are discussing only making a mouse or trackpad an optional secondary input method for some types of interaction.

Personally, this would get my vote for text selection alone. What about you? Would you like to see this as an option? Please take our poll and share your reactions in the comments.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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