Apple could be unveiling a new iPad keyboard with a built-in trackpad later this year, making the tablet one step closer to a traditional laptop.
According to reports by The Information filed on Thursday, consumers can expect the new iPad device later this year. If it’s true, it means the iPad could be a cheaper option for a laptop with similar functions.
Apple has previously supported third-party mice on its iPad operating system, iPadOS, but the new system would make it the first accessory designed by Apple that enables cursor functionality to iPad users.
After the success of Microsoft Surface tablets, Apple has upped its game in recent years in a move to make the iPad a more competitive choice against laptops by adding features like iPadOS and moving from Apple’s Lightning port to the universal USB-C port.
But even one of Apple’s own executives, the SVP of software engineering, Craig Federighi admitted that constantly having to reach from a keyboard to a touchscreen can be a tiring process, which has restricted iPad sales. By developing a trackpad directly into the keyboard, it seems Apple is looking to resolve that issue.
The Information also reported that Apple is working with manufacturing giant Foxconn to produce the keyboard and intends to release it alongside a new iPad Pro model later this year.
The coronavirus outbreak could, however, have an impact on this release date as its already impacted Apple’s supply chain and projected finances. Apple’s manufacturing is largely reliant on China’s Foxconn factories, which have been forced to shut down in some manufacturing hubs to prevent further infections.
Apple has declined to comment for this story.