Mouse control added to the new iPadOS
The iPad’s new operating system, iPadOS, previewed this week at Apple’s Developers Conference (WWDC 2019), has added external mouse control to iPad’s accessibility features. In the new OS coming in fall 2019, (currently in Beta, for developers only) mice and other pointing device will connect wirelessly via Bluetooth and wired with a Lightning to USB adapter.
Getting more access options to iOS devices is great news!
For years, connecting a mouse and other alternative pointer devices -- joysticks, trackballs and head-pointers -- directly to the iPad is something a lot of users have been begging for (switch control for the iPad was added to iOS 7 back in 2013).
As Apple marketed the iPad Pro, as a workplace device that could compete with Microsoft’s Surface, the demands for mouse access grew.
But interestingly, in iPadOS’s introductory presentation to developers, Apple didn’t even point out this feature. Developers found it by digging into the Accessibility Settings. To get mouse access you click on Touch, then activate the Assistive Touch (see the video from our friends at Ablenet, below).
Intro video from AbleNet to mouse control on iPads
Apple probably doesn’t want to concede that mouse access – preferred by many, essential for some and thus beneficial for all -- is a perfect example of universal design that should have been built into the iPad log ago.
We recently announced the release of the AMAneo BTi, a mouse adapter for iPads and iPhones. The AMAneo connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to an iOS device and has a USB port for the mouse or mouse alternative, plus two switch ports for mouse clicks.
With the AMAneo BTI’s plug-and-play connectivity, anti-tremor filter and additional assistive interaction tools, it has a great set of features specifically designed to make iPads accessible through devices like the n-abler Rollerball, BJOY Stick A, Tracker Pro, and other alternative pointing devices.
AMAneo BTi was specifically designed to give mouse control access to iPads and iPhones
This news from Apple prompts the question – will the AMAneo BTI still be necessary if you have the new iPadOS? At this point, we just don’t know.
But over the coming weeks we’ll play with the AMAneo BTi and the beta version of iPadOS. We’ll try both with various alternative access pointing devices, combined with switches and try to map out the potential and limitations for these new iOS access options.
Stay tuned -- we’ll be sure to let you know what we learn.
- Bogdan Pospielovsky