The tech giant, according to The Information, is expected to launch an iPad keyboard with a built-in trackpad alongside the next iteration of the iPad Pro later this year.
The accessory is said to be manufactured with the aid of Foxconn Technology. It is slated to hit the marketplace later this year along the next generation of the iPad Pro.
Apple, however, did not confirm if the rumored new feature could work with the current iPad Air or iPad. The current two models have Apple’s Smart Connector port to allow the attachment of the existing official Apple iPad keyboard.
Apple’s gradual move may endanger MacBook sales
Apple paved the way for touchscreen devices with the iPhone production in 2007 and iPad in 2010. Until then, the market had been saturated with smartphones and PDAs that needed a stylus for input.
The tech giant has been gradually bringing the iPad Pro’s hardware and software capabilities consistent with those of its more conventional laptops and computer systems in a bid to establish the iPad as the primary computer for consumers. Such a move, however, dangers cannibalizing sales of its famous line of MacBook laptops.
In 2018, Apple released an iPad Pro offering processors similar to performance to the latest MacBook line. Apple also changed its Lightning port with USB-C port, making the iPad Pro compatible with more computer accessories and add-ons.
The iPad’s evolution follows a path Microsoft blazed ahead with the remarkable achievement of its Surface line of tablet computers, which has grown into almost a $2 billion business.
Demand for iPad keyboard, trackpad increases
There are signs that customer demand for an iPad keyboard with a trackpad is growing. Some third-party products were released or announced in the past six months, which have limited support for iPad Pro. In January, iPad accessory maker Brydge announced it would be releasing a similar keyboard with trackpad later this year. Brydge’s product announcement got here after it filed a patent-infringement lawsuit in New York in opposition to another enterprise, OGadget, which released a successful Kickstarter campaign for a trackpad-geared up iPad keyboard in 2019.
A second person familiar with the matter said Apple has been experimenting with trackpads for the iPad for quite some time. Some prototypes had capacitive keys, which mimic the response of mechanical keys but with sensors. However, it isn’t clear whether this feature is the exact product. Apple has formally filed and gained patents for iPad keyboards that have keys with capacitive sensors and that may be given trackpad gestures.
The first person said the iPad keyboard might be made from materials, much like the ones in Apple’s current Smart Keyboard Folio for the iPad Pro.
Would it be released on time?
One query clouding the release of the new keyboard is whether it’s going to deliver on time given the outbreak of the lethal coronavirus in China. Apple‘s procurement managers are restrained from visiting China. Suppliers, including Foxconn, have confronted delays returning to full production as they hold to strengthen virus-control measures and address employee shortages at their factories.
Apple additionally is working to make apps well suited across all its products, so that it will similarly blur the road between MacBooks and iPads. Apple has reportedly set a target for combining iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps by way of 2021.
Although Apple’s positioning of the iPad as an alternative to laptops might further devour into sales of its MacBooks, Apple CEO Tim Cook has often said that the organization embraces that risk. In 2013, Cook said Apple’s base philosophy is never to fear cannibalization. “If we do, somebody else will just cannibalize it, and so we never fear it,” he said.