Federighi: Apple based the iPadOS cursor tech on how Apple TV works

Ipad Pro 11 Magic Keyboard Hero
Ipad Pro 11 Magic Keyboard Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple added full cursor support in iPadOS 13.4.
  • Yet the interface remains touch-first.
  • Apple's Craig Federighi says the interface changes were based on Apple TV.

When Apple added full cursor support to iPad as part of the iPadOS 13.4 update it changed the game completely. Coupled with the arrival of the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro, touchpad and mouse support really came of age. And now Apple SVP Craig Federighi has spoken about how it all went down.

Federighi was speaking with TechCunch's Matt Panzarino when he noted that the Apple TV provided inspiration for how iPadOS now supports cursors.

If you've noticed some similarities between the way that the cursor behaves on iPad OS and the way it works on Apple TV, you're not alone. There is the familiar 'jumping' from one point of interest to another, for instance, and the slight sheen of a button as you move your finger while 'hovering' on it."There was a process to figure out exactly how various elements would work together," Federighi says. "We knew we wanted a very touch-centric cursor that was not conveying an unnecessary level of precision. We knew we had a focus experience similar to Apple TV that we could take advantage of in a delightful way. We knew that when dealing with text we wanted to provide a greater sense of feedback.""Part of what I love so much about what's happened with iPadOS is the way that we've drawn from so many sources. The experience draws from our work on tvOS, from years of work on the Mac, and from the origins of iPhone X and early iPad, creating something new that feels really natural for iPad."

You can definitely see the similarities in the way on-screen iPadOS 13.4 elements move in a 3D animation similar to app icons in tvOS. The full TechCrunch interface is a great read. Let's just hope that Apple doesn't make a habit of pulling inspiration from tvOS!

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.