Craig Federighi Says iPad's Cursor Experience Inspired by Apple TV

Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi recently spoke with TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino about the iPad's new cursor functionality, introduced alongside trackpad and mouse support in iPadOS 13.4.

tvos carousel actions
Federighi said the iPad's new cursor experience was inspired by the Apple TV:

"There was a process to figure out exactly how various elements would work together," Federighi says. "We knew we wanted a very touch-centric cursor that was not conveying an unnecessary level of precision. We knew we had a focus experience similar to Apple TV that we could take advantage of in a delightful way. We knew that when dealing with text we wanted to provide a greater sense of feedback."

And:

"Part of what I love so much about what's happened with iPadOS is the way that we've drawn from so many sources. The experience draws from our work on tvOS, from years of work on the Mac, and from the origins of iPhone X and early iPad, creating something new that feels really natural for iPad."

When using a trackpad, the cursor displays as a circle on the screen, popping up only when you have a finger on the trackpad. The circle then morphs into various other shapes when interacting with various elements of iPadOS:

"So we came up with a circle that elegantly transforms to accomplish the task at hand. For example, it morphs to become the focus around a button, or to hop over to another button, or it morphs into something more precise when that makes sense, like the I-beam for text selection."

And:

"We set out to design the cursor in a way that retains the touch-first experience without fundamentally changing the UI," Federighi says. "So customers who may never use a trackpad with their iPad won't have to learn something new, while making it great for those who may switch back and forth between touch and trackpad."

MacRumors recently went hands-on with the cursor experience, providing a closer look at various trackpad gestures and more.


iPadOS 13.4 introduced the new cursor experience and trackpad support on all iPad Pro models, the iPad Air 2 and later, the fifth-generation iPad and later, and the iPad mini 4 and later. Keyboards with built-in trackpads released so far include Apple's Magic Keyboard, Logitech's Combo, and Brydge's Pro+.

Top Rated Comments

Joseph C Avatar
12 months ago
It’s really great for the first stab, but iPadOS 14 hopefully will bring further refinements, as right click behaviour, selection and hover states aren’t as consistent as they should be.

In Reminders, I can’t select multiple Reminders with it. In Music, hovering over albums doesn’t give the Parallax effect. Date pickers and other elements need to be refined for trackpad/mouse and keyboard input. In Photos, right clicking a Photo doesn’t give much context for example to hide a photo I still have to go into the Share sheet window. Right clicking on selected text brings up a different type of limited old-style menu to what you get when, say, right clicking a song in Music or an App on the home screen.

There are more examples but I can’t think of them off the top of my head. Hopefully many more UI refinements are coming which will make the experience more consistent.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Even Longer Avatar
12 months ago
On an iPad even a cursor has experience... Good times to be alive. ;)
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Aluminum213 Avatar
12 months ago

Well they made it distinguished from the way it was pre-13.4, on iOS 13, and made a big fuss about it.

so that's what I'm asking about. Comments like these aren't helpful at all
It works like a cursor like you’ve used on a laptop and desktop

Not sure what the confusion is
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Joseph C Avatar
12 months ago

Right click is already there.
I wasn’t saying it wasn’t there; I was saying the right click behaviour is not consistent. :)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mazz0 Avatar
12 months ago
Craig Federighi Says iPad's Cursor Experience Inspired by Apple TV
Well yeah - did anybody not notice that?

I’ve turned that feature off (Settings -> Accessibility -> Pointer Control -> Pointer Animations). I’m actually fine with the animations, it’s the cursor disappearing while they animate that’s the problem, it means you’re not 100% sure where it’ll appear when it comes out of the other side, which spoils the smooth flowing feeling of moving the cursor. It’s hard to describe, it sounds minor, but it’s very offputting to me. I hate the Apple TV interface too, but that’s because it’s so hard to swipe the right number of times at once. Delightful my arse.

Incidentaly, anyone else frustrated by the trackpad and keyboard settings being arbitrarily divided between General and Accessibility? Jeez, it’s like Windows 10!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Unregistered 4U Avatar
12 months ago

I don't think Apple has EVER done anything as ridiculous as this in it's history.
I always go back to the puck mouse...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
iMessage Android featured

Apple's Rationale for Not Bringing iMessage to Android Revealed in Legal Documents

Friday April 9, 2021 2:22 am PDT by
It's no secret that Apple sees iMessage as a big enough selling point to keep the service exclusive to Apple devices, however new court filings submitted by Epic Games in its ongoing lawsuit with the company reveal just how Apple executives have rationalized their decision not to develop a version of iMessage for Android. Apple clearly recognizes the power that iMessage has to keep users...
fake airpods 3

Counterfeit 'AirPods 3' Hit the Market Prior to Official Announcement

Friday April 9, 2021 2:45 am PDT by
Apple is expected to launch the third iteration of AirPods in the third quarter of this year. Rumors and reports suggest the new AirPods will feature an updated design more in line with the AirPods Pro, but lacking in "Pro" features such as active noise cancellation. Despite AirPods 3 not yet being officially announced by Apple, counterfeit products of the unreleased earbuds have already hit ...
nba tracking prompt orange

Two-Thirds of iPhone Users Expected to Block Ad Tracking

Friday April 9, 2021 7:19 am PDT by
As many as 68 percent of iPhone users are expected to deny advertisers permission to track them thanks to Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, in what is beginning to look like a significant blow to the advertising industry (via AdWeek). With the launch of iOS 14.5, apps will have to receive explicit user permission before accessing an iPhone's advertising identifier or IDFA, which is...
iPhone 13 Battery Life Feature

DigiTimes: iPhone 13 Pro Models to Feature 120Hz ProMotion Refresh Rate and 15-20% Less Power Consumption

Friday April 9, 2021 12:52 am PDT by
The two premium "Pro" models of the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will be equipped with a low-power LTPO display, enabling the iPhones to have a 120Hz refresh rate, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. According to today's paywalled report, Apple suppliers Samsung and LG Display are in the process of converting parts of their production capacity to produce LTPO ...
ipad pro and macbook pro

iPad and MacBook Production Reportedly Delayed Due to Global Chip Shortage

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:31 am PDT by
Apple is facing a global shortage of certain components for some of its MacBook and iPad models, causing the Cupertino tech giant and its suppliers to postpone production of the products, according to a new report from Nikkei Asia. According to the report, MacBook production is being hindered due to the shortage of chips mounted onto the circuit board before final assembly, which is a key...
ehric

iPhone 12 Mini Missing From Top 5 Best Selling Smartphone List of January 2021

Friday April 9, 2021 4:58 am PDT by
According to market data compiled by Counterpoint Research, Apple's smallest iPhone since the 2016 iPhone SE, the iPhone 12 mini, struggled to obtain a spot in the top five list of best-selling smartphones in January of this year. According to the market data, the iPhone 12 mini came in eighth place for the best-selling smartphone worldwide in the first month of the year. However, the iPhone ...
tmobile 5g modem

T-Mobile Launches Unlimited 5G Home Internet for $60/Month

Wednesday April 7, 2021 2:18 pm PDT by
T-Mobile today hosted an Un-carrier event where the company announced the launch of a a new 5G home internet plan, which is priced at $60 per month and offers unlimited data. The service is available to more than 30 million Americans across much of the United States, including 10 million households in rural areas not typically able to access reliable broadband. Connectivity will be either 4G ...
apple find my network

Apple Announces Find My Network With Support for Third-Party Devices

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced the launch of its Find My network accessory program, which is designed to allow third-party Bluetooth devices to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices. According to Apple, the first accessory companies to take advantage of the new Find My integration include Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof, with devices set to be available beginning next week. ...