Being in school IT, I’ve been around the iPad from day one. I’ve owned just about every iPad over the years (original, 2, 3, mini, Air, mini 4, 10.5-inch Pro, 12.9-inch Pro, and 11-inch Pro). I’ve deployed thousands of iPads since 2010, and I’ve worked with countless students and teachers on using the iPad in the classroom. I know the iPad. I can explain the good, and I can vent about the bad. I know people who use the iPad full time, and I know people who used to use the iPad. It appears iOS 13 is going to be a big one for the iPad, so I am excited. There has been recent discussion around mouse support coming to the iPad as an accessibility feature in iOS 13, and that is welcome news for me.
Personally, I’ve always wanted to go iPad only, but I’ve always felt like touch is slower than using a trackpad or mouse. I also struggle with the ergonomics of using the iPad (even the pro) for long periods of time.
If you go by how Apple pitches the iPad Pro, you’ll want to use the smart keyboard. If I use an iPad Pro with a smart keyboard for more than an hour, my neck and back start hurting. It’s just not ergonomically sound for my body. In my office, I use a Jarvis desk with various accessories from Twelve South to get my laptop at the perfect height. I want to be able to stare at both screens without having to tilt my head down. This setup isn’t possible with iOS because the iPad doesn’t currently have mouse support. You have to keep the iPad close enough to you to reach the screen.
I can confirm that mouse support is coming to iOS 13 as an accessibility feature. You should trust @stroughtonsmith 😉
— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) April 25, 2019
iPad Mouse Support vs Voice vs Touch
For long periods of usage (3+ hours), I find using touch-based devices create a strain on my shoulders. I really prefer a trackpad that can live right alongside my external keyboard. That isn’t a complaint against iOS, though. It’s a complaint against using a touch-based OS for long periods of time. In my opinion, touch has a place, but so does a mouse/trackpad. I think the next decade will see a variety of input methods, and they will all serve a purpose. Voice has a place. Touch has a place. A mouse pointer also has its place. An OS that will last for the next decade needs to work with all of them (macOS, I am looking at you too).
Proper Dual Monitor Support
While you can plug the iPad into a projector/TV, we still don’t have true dual monitor support. The 2018 iPad Pro brought a few new features (editing bay for iMovie as an example), but I’d love to see dual monitor support expanded with mouse support. I want to be able to have separate apps open on a 2nd screen that I can interact with and drag content back and forth. I know some people can live off one screen, but I see huge productivity gains by having two monitors side by side. iPad mouse support would make this a compelling use case.
iPad Mouse support and true dual monitor support would solve a lot of iPad ergonomic issues for my work usage. As someone who stands at a desk for the majority of the day, I take great care in standing and operating at positions that aren’t going to cause repetitive stress injuries. It’s looking like WWDC 2019 is going to be a fun one!