Apple Adds Trackpad and Mouse Support to iMovie and iWork

By Chand Bellur

April 2, 2020 at 2:56 p.m. PDT

  • iMovie is Apple’s lightweight, consumer-oriented video editing software.
  • iWork offers a full suite of office productivity software, free with most Apple devices.
  • iPadOS 13.4 offers trackpad and mouse support, which now works with iMovie and iWork

iPad Becoming More Like a Notebook

When first introduced, Steve Jobs touted the iPad as a content consumption device. As the product evolved, a core of dedicated iPad fanatics claimed the tablet was superior to a notebook computer. They went so far as to say that an iPad could replace a MacBook. Although this notion is patently false, Apple perpetuates this myth with promises of iPad productivity.

The iPad gradually approaches notebook computer functionality, with new peripherals such as smart keyboards. Some iPad accessories transcend those available for computers, such as the Apple Pencil. Thanks to iOS 13.4, the iPad now supports trackpads and mice.

The iPad is still not a MacBook, and it never will be. It’s not intended to be a notebook replacement. In some ways, the iPad is superior to a notebook. It’s lighter, and for some graphic design tasks, it’s more appropriate. Unfortunately, if you’re trying to write, compile, test and deploy software, the iPad isn’t even an option.

Apple Adds Trackpad and Mouse Support to iMovie and iWork

With iOS 13.4’s trackpad and mouse support, it was only a matter of time until core Apple apps embraced the new accessories. For now, only a few first-party apps offer actual mouse and trackpad support. It’s reasonable to expect apps like GarageBand, Messages and others to provide better trackpad and mouse integration soon.

Mouse and trackpad support offer functionality that most users would expect. Apple’s release notes weren’t specific; however, in trials, mouse and trackpad support is similar to macOS. Users move an on-screen cursor with either a mouse or trackpad. Clicking, selecting, and other behaviors are fully supported. It looks and feels remarkably like a MacBook.

Will the iPad Ever Replace the MacBook?

Some iPad fanatics claim Apple’s product roadmap favors the iPad over the MacBook. They even contend that Apple will scrap the MacBook in favor of the iPad.

It makes absolutely no sense for Apple to do this. Apple’s strategy is to create multiple devices. Each device offers a different view of the Apple ecosystem. Apple wants consumers to buy every gadget, and many of them do.

The Apple Watch, for example, has very little utility. At best, users can raise their wrist instead of taking their iPhone out of their pocket. That’s never been a monumental task. Yet Apple created the product, and it’s, by far, the best selling smartwatch on the market.

Similarly, Apple intends to tout the iPad as a notebook replacement. Some will fall for it, and perhaps it’s good enough for their purposes. Many will end up buying the iPad and then a MacBook.

I own a 2017 iPad, and it’s the last one I will purchase. I find that an iPhone and MacBook are enough. An “in-between” device, such as the iPad, is redundant to me. I haven’t even touched my iPad in three months.

This doesn’t mean that Apple won’t profit from me as a customer. I have a fixed budget for Apple devices. If I stop buying the iPad, I will refresh my iPhone and MacBook more frequently. Regardless of how Apple positions the iPad, the device has a bright future.

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