Apple’s Next iPad Pro Keyboard Could Have a Trackpad

The iPad’s transition to mobile productivity workhorse continues.

Why This Matters

Apple’s spent the last few years making the iPad Pro more and more like a laptop, updating the iPadOS to handle truer multi-tasking, allowing it to read external thumb drives like a typical file manager, and enhancing drag and drop between apps. You can do all this with a touch screen and the optional smart keyboard, but an integrated track pad would make it a lot easier. This is still just a rumor, but one that makes sense, as well.

iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard Folio
 Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

Apple is considering adding a track pad to its iPad Pro’s optional Smart Keyboard Folio, according to a new report. The $179 accessory would arrive with new iPad Pro later this year and would ostensibly add mouse-like capability to the touchscreen system.

The big picture. Last year Apple introduced iPadOS, a sort of forked version of its mobile operating system, iOS, that’s designed for productivity. It added better support for multitasking, file management, and drag and drop. iPad sales slumped until the introduction of the iPad Pro, which repositioned the tablet as a business-class device, capable of replacing your typical laptop. A keyboard with a trackpad would complete that transition.

Yes, but… Apple has never been a fan of combining familiar laptop tropes with its touchscreen devices. More than a decade ago, Apple founder Steve Jobs famously ridiculed the use of styluses on touchscreens and Apple has always said no to a touchscreen MacBook.

By the Numbers

Never say never. Yet here we are with an iPad Pro tablet that now works with an Apple Pencil (a Bluetooth stylus), an OS that’s more like macOS every year, and a keyboard that moves it closer to laptop status. A trackpad accessory seems inevitable.  

Bottom line. If the report proves true, your next mobile workstation system decision might be even more complicated. You could go with the traditional laptop from Apple, which promises a better keyboard, large track pad, and somewhat more power, or a tablet that’s a hybrid. For what it’s worth, Microsoft and its partners already offer this kind of system in the Surface Pro and other similar Windows 10 convertibles.

Via: The Information and The Verge

Become an Expert in Apple iPad Pro