12.9-inch iPad ProSource: Joseph Keller/iMore

What you need to know

  • Code found in an iOS 14 build indicates system-wide support for mouse cursors.
  • The cursor support brings it in line with a Mac-like experience.
  • The iOS 14 code indicates two new Apple Smart Keyboard with built-in trackpads coming in the future.

According to a report by 9to5Mac, some code in the upcoming iOS 14 indicates that Apple is set to be rolling out rich system-wide support for mouse cursors. Previously in iOS 13, there is compatibility with external mice, but it is only available through Accessibility settings. The change with iOS 14 is that it will be mainstream support. The iOS 14 code also references two new Smart Keyboard models that will include a trackpad underneath the keyboard.

The changes for the mouse cursor support will bring it closer to the Mac experience, such as the cursor disappearing automatically after a few seconds of inactivity. It would appear once again when the mouse or trackpad detects movement.

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Mouse Cursor Hand PointerSource: 9to5Mac

There would also be multiple pointers, depending on what the cursor is hovering over (i.e. from a standard arrow pointer to a hand when hovering on URL links). The APIs for this would transfer over to Catalyst Mac apps well, as there is currently no API to change cursor appearance. Another big change would be support for a Mac-like gesture, such as tapping with two fingers to right-click.

With all of this support and possible new gestures, it is not surprising that Apple would be developing new Smart Keyboard models that feature a standard laptop-like trackpad. Going back to the iOS 14 code, there is a setting for "tap to click," which hints that the Smart Keyboard trackpad will depress when pressed, and perhaps have some more haptic feedback.

The code references two new Smart Keyboard models as well, so it would be a sign that this new accessory will be available for multiple iPad models.