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Apple SVP Craig Federighi Sheds Light on iPadOS Cursor Technology

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Apple has made some big changes to iPadOS recently, but none bigger than adopting a more robust cursor experience for the tablet lineup.

In a new interview with TechCrunch, Apple SVP Craig Federighi shed light on the development process of the touchpad that arrived with the release of the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro.

“We knew we wanted a very touch-centric cursor that was not conveying an unnecessary level of precision,” Federighi revealed. “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.”

Apple also had to think about how the pointer would work in other areas, like on the web, where every website has its own way of doing things. It knew web developers wouldn’t accommodate Apple, so it needed a system that would ensure a “really high level of compatibility out of the gates.”

“When we were first thinking about the cursor, we needed it to reflect the natural and easy experience of using your finger when high precision isn’t necessary, like when accessing an icon on the home screen, but it also needed to scale very naturally into high precision tasks like editing text,” Federighi said.

If some of you have noticed the similarities between the new iPad touchpad and Apple TV, you aren’t crazy.

“There was a process to figure out exactly how various elements would work together,” Federighi said. “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 Apple exec continues. “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.”

iPadOS 13.4 introduced the new cursor experience and trackpad support on all iPad Pro models, the iPad Air 2 and later, the fifth-generation iPad and later, and the iPad mini 4 and later. The profile is well worth the read over at TechCrunch.

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