Apple explores crazy ways to add touch to MacBooks

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A touch sensitive area could make a MacBook trackpad movable.
A future MacBook might let you put the trackpad anywhere you want.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Far from resting on its laurels, Apple continues to look for innovative features to build into MacBooks. A patent awarded Tuesday shows the company is considering making the trackpad virtual, so it can be positioned wherever the user likes.

And a second patent goes even further, making the keyboard and the area around it touch-sensitive.

6 iPad trackpad gestures you need to know

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iPad trackpad gestures
Trackpad gestures transform the iPad into something entirely new.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The trackpad and mouse support Apple added in iOS 13.4 is just amazing. It’s like getting a whole new computer, just by updating your iPad. I’ve been using it for a week for so now, and I want to share my favorite trackpad gestures.

If you use a trackpad with your iPad, these gestures will change the way you use your tablet.

How to customize the new mouse Pointer Control settings on your iPad

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pointer control trackpad mouse, Apple Pencil
So many ways to control an iPad.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The new mouse and trackpad support coming in iPadOS 13.4 is just fantastic. And, in typical Apple fashion, it just works as soon as you connect a trackpad or mouse via Bluetooth or USB. But there are also plenty of options to customize how the mouse behaves, and even how the pointer looks.

You may already have checked the obvious options in the Settings app under General > Trackpad & Mouse. But several hidden iPad Pointer Control options offer even deeper customizations.

Hands on: Everything you want to know about iPad Pro’s new trackpad features

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Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, iPad
Pretty much any mouse will work with the iPad in iPadOS 13.4.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple’s new Magic Keyboard case for the iPad Pro looks amazing. But its most impressive feature (aside from that incredibly solid-looking hinge) will become available to any iPad owner with a mouse or trackpad laying around. The new trackpad support coming next week in iOS 13.4 works with pretty much any Bluetooth or USB mouse. You just connect the peripheral, and a cursor appears on the iPad screen.

This is a much, much better system than the cobbled-together mouse support that already exists in iOS 13’s Accessibility settings. Instead of simply imitating a finger on-screen, Apple completely rethought how a cursor should work on a touch-based device. This thing is deep, as we’re about to see.

Here’s a hands-on look at the new iPad mouse and trackpad features.

Craig Federighi shows off awesome power of iPad trackpad

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Craig-Federighi-iPad-Pro
Craig Federighi and new iPad features? What more could you want?
Photo: Apple

Apple is bringing true trackpad support (and improved mouse support) to the iPad. Get ready to enjoy it by learning all the new gestures from Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

In a new video released by Apple Wednesday, Federighi demonstrates the improvements and shows how simple swipes can help you access Control Center, switch between apps in Slide Over, return to the Home screen, and more.

Apple drops awesome ads for amazing new iPad Pro

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iPad-Pro-Magic-Keyboard
The new Magic Keyboard looks incredible.
Photo: Apple

The surprise iPad Pro refresh, unveiled on Wednesday morning, has us all reaching for a credit cards. If you’re still on the fence, Apple’s awesome new ads will convince you this is a worthwhile upgrade.

Both highlight iPad Pro’s increasing ability to replace a traditional computer thanks to its blazing-fast A12Z Bionic processor, brand-new Magic Keyboard, and true trackpad support.

First iPad Pro keyboard case with trackpad hopes to launch this winter

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Sentis Libra iPad keyboard case with trackpad
An iPad keyboard case with trackpad wasn’t possible before iPadOS.
Photo: Sentis

Libra is angling to be the first-out-of-the-gate iPad Pro case that includes not only a keyboard but also a trackpad. This wasn’t possible before, but the just-released iPadOS adds support for mice and trackpads.

The designers are looking for backing on Kickstarter to defray the costs of developing an accessory that lets an iPad mimic a MacBook more closely than any before.

How to turn on Mac Bluetooth without a mouse

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Dust off any old USB keyboard and get your Bluetooth back in action.
Dust off any old USB keyboard and get your Bluetooth back in action.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You wake up or restart your Mac, and nothing is connected. Your Bluetooth keyboard does nothing. You wiggle your Bluetooth mouse or trackpad, and the on-screen pointer refuses to wiggle in response. The problem? You Mac’s Bluetooth is switched off. But how do you switch it back on without a mouse?

Today we’ll see how to activate Bluetooth on an iMac, Mac Pro or Mac mini 1 without having to touch a mouse or trackpad. All you need are a USB keyboard, Spotlight and one clever trick.

Brydge taunts us with iPad Pro keyboard we can’t have

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An iPad trackpad?! Too bad it’s only a dream.
It could be so much better.
Photo: Brydge

An accessory maker shared a picture of something many people would love: a clip-on iPad Pro keyboard with a trackpad. Sadly, Brydge’s concept device just isn’t possible because iOS doesn’t support external pointing devices.

At least, that’s true for now. But mouse/trackpad support is a often-requested feature, and there’s reason to think Apple is at least considering it.

UPDATE: Turns out Apple was considering it, and mouse/trackpad support is built into iPadOS 13. Learn how to use a mouse with your iPad.