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Apple demos iPad Pro Magic Keyboard trackpad – here’s what it does

The iPad Pro became even more like a MacBook today with the launch of a new keyboard with a trackpad, that’ll allow fingertip control of the cursor without touching the display.

Now Apple is explaining how the new Magic Keyboard, which costs up to $349 depending on the size of the tablet, will change the game for iPadOS moving forward.

In a video demonstration, Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi (shared with The Verge, among others) explained some of the finer points.

For example, the mouse pointer will, like a traditional cursor, only appear when the user touches the trackpad. As for the pointer itself, it’ll be a represented by a circular dot on the display.

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However, as Federighi explained in a video sent to reporters following the launch, the pointer will change shape depending on what it is currently hovering over. For example, if you hover over the trash icon in the Mail app for example, it will be shaded by a rectangle.

Naturally, it’ll be great for selecting and manoeuvring text, and manipulating cells in Excel, for example. It’ll also be possible to pinch-to-zoom using the trackpad, while some navigation gestures are also supported.

For example, you can return to the home screen by swiping up with three fingers, you can slide between open apps by swiping horizontally with three fingers, and you can also summon Slide Over apps by moving the pointer to the right hand side of the display.

Much of this functionality was debuted within macOS, but naturally there’ll be some divergence for the tablet-based operating system.

Elsewhere, as explained earlier today, the iPad Pro 2020 keyboard attaches magnetically, and gives the appearance of floating; the stand is adjustable for a 130-degree field of view, and the full-size keyboard has backlit keys and a scissor response mechanism upon typing.

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