Apple is preparing to launch an iPad keyboard with a trackpad built into the accessory as it continues its efforts to position the once-traditional tablet as a laptop alternative.
Reports over the weekend claimed that Apple is working on new developments for its current batch of Smart Keyboards and that the new accessory will be manufactured from similar materials, which suggests that a fabric design will be used.
Since the launch of iPadOS, Apple has attempted to make the device more of a conventional laptop, but inputs have previously been limited to touch-based navigation via the display.
Apple is now blurring the line between iPads and its MacBook line further with the new keyboard, which is set to enter “mass production” in the coming weeks.
The report stated that the accessory is likely to be released alongside an updated iPad Pro model before the end of the year, though specific dates have yet to be confirmed.
The latest news about a keyboard with a trackpad follows a Digitimes report last month that Apple is working on a Smart Keyboard with backlit keys.
This accessory is also slated for release before the end of 2020, but it is not known whether it will have the trackpad built in or whether it is a separate release entirely.
The next iPad Pro is expected to be unveiled at a private event in the spring alongside the iPhone SE successor.
It is rumoured to have a raft of new features including a triple-lens camera system, which will offer users more options when taking shots, and a 3D time-of-flight sensor.
Apple recently released iPadOS 13.4 with new keyboard-related features, but developer Steven Troughton-Smith noted that there weren’t any changes that pointed to the potential release of a trackpad-based accessory.
Apple will likely reveal official details in Q2 2020.
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