Apple today released the golden master version of iOS and iPadOS 13.4, the latest major updates to the iOS 13 operating system that was released in September. The iOS and iPadOS 13.4 GMs come after a little over a month of beta testing.
The biggest new feature – which is accompanied by new iPad Pro devices and a keyboard with trackpad – is mouse support in iPadOS. The cool thing here is that Apple’s iOS cursor – a dot, so not an arrow – is a thing of marvel, and it does some really neat tricks that you won’t find anywhere else.
When you hover over a tappable button, the pointer disappears and instead you get a hover-state highlight around the button. Hover over an app icon in the Dock or on your homescreen, and instead of seeing the mouse pointer on top of the icon, you see a highlight around the icon, much like the way icons are popped on tvOS. When text editing, the cursor changes to an I-beam, of course, but it’s an all-new I-beam cursor, not the one you get in iOS while using the on-screen keyboard as a virtual trackpad (after a tap-and-hold on the spacebar or two-finger tap-and-drag on the key area). This new I-beam cursor is smart. It adjusts to the size of the text you’re editing — if you’re editing 16-point text you’ll get a smaller cursor; if you’re editing 48-point text you’ll get a larger cursor. (Lo these 35+ years after the original Macintosh, it suddenly strikes me as a bit silly that the I-beam cursor stays small even when editing very large text.) The new iPadOS I-beam cursor also is aware of where lines are in text fields, and “snaps” to the line.
There seem to be a lot of small little niceties here that seem so obvious once you see them in action. It’s really cool stuff, and I can’t wait to try it out.
I hope we don’t end up in a situation similar to that of touch screen Windows tablets where you *must* use the trackpad for full functionality, because touch gestures do not respond the way they should.