Apple could include the ability to use a mouse or trackpad within iOS 13, a report suggests, which beyond accessibility could enable the iPad or iPad Pro to more directly compete with notebooks and other devices that could be used as a complete computer replacement.
The iPad Pro range is pitched as an ideal device for working, as an alternate to the MacBook Pro lineup that is highly portable due to its tablet form. While iPads are highly versatile, the addition of mouse support could be coming to the platform in iOS 13, and could feature during WWDC on June 3.
Speaking on the Connected podcast, MacStories editor Federico Viticci revealed an interest in the idea of mouse support, with conversations with others suggesting it could be part of the AssistiveTouch accessibility feature. In researching the possibility, it was found it is possible to have a cursor in iOS when used with the right accessibility hardware, and has been so for years.
According to Viticci's sources, a USB-C mouse could be used in a similar fashion in the future, plugged directly into the iPad Pro's USB-C port without any extra adapters.
A later tweet from developer Steve Troughton-Smith corroborated the rumors, claiming the feature "is indeed in the works."
If you missed last week's @_connectedfm, @viticci had a pretty interesting scoop that he'd been sitting on re mouse support coming to iPad as an accessibility feature. As far as I'm aware, that *is* indeed in the works. I feel like every pro user will turn that on, day one— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) April 22, 2019
While the use of a USB-C connection may facilitate the use of a mouse or trackpad on the iPad Pro, it is likely that Apple will also turn to other ways of interacting with mice, if it is indeed working on the feature. A plethora of Bluetooth mice are on the market, including Apple's own, and it would make sense for Apple to enable support for those devices, rather than forcing users to acquire a USB-C mouse or an adapter to attach USB-A versions.
The use of Bluetooth also opens up the possibility for mouse support to be added to iPads and older iPad Pro models, which use Lightning instead of USB-C connections.
The timing of the rumors may also be due to Apple's Marzipan project, which, greatly simplified, enables apps produced for iOS to be ported to macOS with less friction than before. As Marzipan apps would need to accept input from a mouse, it makes sense for Apple to extend that functionality over to iOS.