iPad 7 Smart KeyboardSource: Rene Ritchie / iMore

What you need to know

  • Apple is reportedly readying a new iPad Pro Smart Keyboard accessory.
  • It's said that the keyboard will have a built-in trackpad.
  • The product will reportedly launch this year.

Apple is reportedly getting ready to launch its first iPad Pro Smart Keyboard accessory with a built-in trackpad. The company is "preparing the keyboard for mass production" according to The Information.

This would be the first time that Apple has shipped a keyboard that has a built-in trackpad after years of reminding everything that iPads are touch-first devices. That stance started to thaw when iOS 13 added an accessibility feature that allowed external pointing devices to be used. And now it appears that Apple is ready to take the next step by making trackpad input available to everyone willing to buy its accessory.

Apple is planning to release an iPad keyboard accessory later this year that will include a built-in trackpad, the latest step in its effort to position the tablet device as an alternative to laptop computers, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company will likely release the accessory alongside the next version of the iPad Pro expected later this year, the person added.

We don't yet know exactly when the trackpad-laden keyboard will arrive, but The Information suggests that we might see it alongside 2020's new iPad Pros. We've heard various rumors on that front, ranging from March to much later in the year.