25 March 2020

A new way to interact with the iPad

Speaking of Craig Mod, he just wrote a beautiful piece on Wired, about the new iPad mouse/trackpad support, the one where a new type of cursor was introduced to interact with the touch-based iPad OS:

Move the pointer above a button and the circle morphs into the button itself, snapping” into it, enveloping it like an amoeba, causing it to glow in a pleasing way. What this means is that the usual precision of a trackpad isn’t required to get exact hits on navigational elements. […]

I’ve been using the trackpad with my 2018 11-inch iPad Pro for the last four days, and I can’t stop smiling.

From the few reviews I could read today, there seems to be a general consensus on the refinement of the new UI, sort of proving than it makes more sense to have a trackpad or a mouse to control the iPad when it stands on a table, rather than lifting up your arm and touching the screen all the time.

Jason Snell at Six Colors seems to be very pleased with it too:

I want to take a moment to appreciate the delicate and whimsical animated appearance of the cursor in iPadOS 13.4, which was released today. It’s delightful. It’s like a little cartoon character, the plucky dot who is up to any challenge, even if it means contorting itself into whatever form is required. […]

Apple didn’t just copy Mac cursor support and paste it into iPadOS with version 13.4. This is a careful, considered set of additions that rethink what a cursor should look like. And apparently it should look like an adorable round sticky color-changing blob.

Same for Dieter Bohn at The Verge:

I have a lot more to say about trackpad support on the iPad, but here’s the short version: I think Apple came as close to nailing it as possible. Scrolling feels natural and the way the mouse cursor changes shape to match buttons is weird at first but I think I like it.

This is all very promising: now we will have to wait for Federico Viticci to publish his iPad-expert thoughts about this to really know how good it is. Today on MacStories, he posted a link to Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines on Pointers for iPadOS, and it is quite fascinating.


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