An iPad or iPhone will never be a true writer’s-device—at least when you’re working with an external monitor and keyboard—without the ability to add a mouse.
But the just-revealed iPadOS preview page tells us that mouse capability might be ahead even though it apparently won’t work with external screens. A coming attraction if it isn’t there already? I’m also delighted that Apple promises better speech capability, easy text undos with three-fingered swipes, and the ability to install fonts from the App Store. May the added font capability apply in time not only to Apple’s own Book app but also to others such as the Kindle one! We’ll see.
Apple trotted out the improvements yesterday at WWDC. Meanwhile, here’s detailed iOS 13 features preview page for owners of recent iPhones and the latest iPad Touches.
MacWorld has a good WWDC overview, including a list of iPads and iPhone models able to benefit from the operating system upgrades:
iPads: 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 11-inch iPad Pro 10.5-inch iPad Pro, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPad (6th generation), iPad (5th generation), iPad mini (5th generation), iPad mini 4, iPad Air (3rd generation) and iPad Air 2.
Phones: iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE and iPod touch (7th generation).
If past patterns apply, the upgrades will come out of beta and be available as regular upgrades in late summer or fall.
At the conference, Apple also announced a “Reading Goals” addition to the Books app: “Read a book or listen to an audiobook for five minutes while in line for coffee, on your commute, or before bed to achieve your Daily Reading Goal. Build streaks to celebrate your achievements and share books you’ve finished with the Books Read this Year collection.” I hate, hate, hate “reading goals”—I read for fun and information, not to make “goals”—but others may relish this feature. Useful especially for students? Or maybe not. “Goals” suggests work, and recreational reading should be from the heart. That’s my thinking, anyway. In the end, this is an individual-by-individual issue.
Now—more on the mouse capabilities. Here’s a video:
“It doesn’t seem like mouse on iOS 13 spans external displays, even if you’re using an app that can display UI on an external display — the mouse cursor is locked to the iPad screen,” tweets Steve Troughton-Smith. “It also doesn’t map right-click to the new context menus in iOS 13, but it does do scroll wheel.”
Here are just a few features that caught my eye within the iPadOS preview page (I’d encourage you to scroll down the page yourself and perhaps see the equivalent for iOS 13):
Improved voice with neural TTS: “Siri sounds more natural than ever, particularly while speaking longer phrases, with a voice that is generated entirely by software.”
More accurate dictation: “Voice Control uses the Siri speech recognition engine to give you the latest advances in machine learning for audio‑to‑text transcription.”
Text selection: “Select text just by tapping and swiping. For quick sentence and paragraph selection, triple- or quadruple‑tap.
Cut, copy, and paste gestures: “New gestures make cut, copy, and paste a snap. Pinch up with three fingers to quickly copy, pinch up with three fingers two times to cut, and pinch down with three fingers to paste.”
Undo and redo gestures: “Undo with a simple three‑finger swipe to the left or redo by swiping three fingers to the right.” Already you can undo by shaking your phone or iPad.
Dark Mode: “A new Dark Mode option gives iPadOS and apps a beautiful dark color scheme. Perfect for low-light environments, Dark Mode is easier on your eyes and won’t disturb people around you.”
Custom fonts: “You can now install custom fonts and use them in your favorite apps.”
Manage fonts: “Easily see and manage the fonts you’ve installed right in Settings.”
Fonts in App Store: “Fonts will be available from the App Store, making it easy to find and install them.”
Expanded email sharing options: “New options let you email a web page as a link, as a PDF, or in Reader view from the share sheet.”
Multiple windows from the same app: “You can now open multiple windows from the app in Split View. Perfect for working on two notes or Pages documents, viewing two maps, or organizing files in the Files app.”
New layout: “The Home screen has been redesigned with the icons arranged in a tighter grid. The refined layout gives you more room for apps and information.”
Pin widgets: “Get at‑a‑glance information by pinning your Today View widgets on the Home screen.”
Favorite widgets: “Use the widget editor to choose your favorite widgets, which will always appear on the Home screen. Swipe up to see all your other widgets.”
So what new features excite you the most, and how could Apple further improve?
One more thought: The Safari browser from the start will give you full desktop views, not just mobile versions, of the sites you visit. Result? Smoother use of Google Docs, which I use a lot. Same for WordPress.
Related, from last year: 2018 iPad Pro for readers and writers: Mixed feelings. High time for mouse!
I like the mouse feature. I must have exceptionally dry skin because I have trouble holding touch contact with a screen. Fortunately, for writing I use a keyboard and the cursor keys with modifiers work quite well.
Now if Amazon would just add Bluetooth keyboard and mouse features to its epaper readers. Use the keyboard to enter notes and the mouse to page up and down.
@Michael, I continue to agree with you about the Kindle. TTS would also help. Meanwhile, let’s hope that Apple gives us mouse capability on external screens.