Enlarge /. The 2018, 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard Folio.
Apple has developed a keyboard pad with a trackpad for the iPad Pro and plans to launch it with its new iPad Pro models later this year, according to a report from The Information. The report quotes an unknown person who is familiar with the matter and claims that Apple has been considering this move for several years.
This would make Apple's iPad Pro compete more directly with the Microsoft Surface range, 2-in-1 convertible laptops and various Chrome OS devices. Apple's iPad has sold well in the market, but power users often complain that its user interface is not always suitable for heavy work.
Apple has tried to resolve many of these complaints with iPadOS, a branch of iOS that was first released last year and has significantly expanded multitasking, file management, and other iPad productivity features. We examined some of these changes in our iPadOS test last year and came to the conclusion that many of the changes are successful, but lead to a kind of conflicting identity for the platform.
The company also gave users the ability to control iPadOS with a mouse pointer. However, this is an accessibility feature designed specifically for users with disabilities. In the meantime, pointer control behaves differently from what users without disabilities generally look for. We also examined this in our review.
According to the source of The Information, the new keyboards would be manufactured by Foxconn, an important manufacturing partner of Apple, which is mainly active in China. The report did not provide much information on how the spread of the corona virus could affect the market launch of this product, although there have been other reports of supply line issues at Foxconn and other Apple partners in China that affect the 2020 launch of Apple products.
Numerous rumors indicated that the iPad Pro update was due in the next few months, but the supply issues associated with the corona virus have led to uncertainty about Apple's plans. The updated tablet is sure to come, but the schedule is unclear. If this report is true, this update could be more than just nicer cameras and faster processors.