What are an iPad’s best features? Mobility. Size. Ease of use. Battery life. Applications. Those are not in any particular order as everyone’s requirements for an iPad may vary, but here are two that don’t get mentioned often. Keyboard and Pencil. The latter is great once you give it a couple of hours. The former is a must-have if you plan to be productive in a traditional, keyboard-centric, personal computer-like way.
An iPad can be an inexpensive and highly productive device with a keyboard; whether a simple Bluetooth model or Apple’s absurdly expensive Smart Connector Smart Keyboard– but not as productive as a Mac with keyboard, trackpad, or mouse.
macOS has support for keyboard shortcuts and most Mac applications have plenty. For Mac power users, the keyboard is the center of their productivity. So, why the need for a trackpad or mouse on iPad?
Keyboard shortcuts are nominal, and navigation sucks when your hands are on the keyboard. Even non-power users don’t have far to move their fingers to navigate around the Mac’s screen– reach for the trackpad or mouse– then continue typing.
iOS on iPad does not provide that same elegant solution to navigation. While typing on an iPad keyboard is similar to that on a Mac, the keyboard shortcuts are missing, and the need to navigate the iPad’s screen with fingertip, hand, arm, and shoulder is an exercise just waiting for tennis elbow.
The iPad needs mouse support; the ability to point and tap on the screen from the keyboard or near the keyboard– a trackpad on the crazy expensive Smart Keyboard would be useful– would be a huge plus that cannot be understated.
What is Apple waiting for?
It’s time to petition the executives at Apple Park for active customer support. An easier way to point to and navigate an iPad’s screen– other than fingertip, hand, arm, and shoulder– would be a good start.
So would upgrading a few Macs that haven’t seen an upgrade in years. Mac mini, Mac Pro, MacBook Air. Hello! Apple! Anybody home!
It may seem anathema to Apple’s purists on Jonny Ive’s design team, because blending old technology– point and click– to new technology– point and touch– seems like something Microsoft would do. Wait. Microsoft did it already with Windows-based tablet notebook hybrids. Yes, they’re used more as notebooks than tablets, so a full-fledged Windows 10 benefits users more than the limited touch options, but you get the point.
So, Apple, if you’re going to allow keyboards on iPads– and you did already– then make them truly useful accessories with an option to navigate the screen via a trackpad or mouse.
Or, with Face ID sure to show up in future iPads, how about some sort of look and blink technology whereby we look at a button on the iPad’s screen and blink twice to make it work.
That could work. But keyboard shortcuts and mouse navigation might be better.