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The iPad got the best pointer

Dom Habersack
Dom HabersackJuly 8, 2020
A person using an Apple Pencil with an iPad.
Of course Apple puts a lot of thought into a cursor.

Apple’s WWDC, the Worldwide Developers Conference, happened a few weeks ago. Since my entire workflow is very Apple-centric, the event was like a summer-Christmas to me.

Apple always makes the session videos available for everybody for free. You can find them here:


Even if you are not an Apple-person, I want to recommend one video in particular. With the already released iPadOS 13.4, the iPad gained advanced cursor support. It is now possible to use external pointing devices like mice and trackpads with the iPad.

As is Apple’s modus operandi, they didn’t move the pointer from macOS over as-is and called it a day. Instead, they thought about what cursor support would work best on the iPad. How they ended up at this unusual result is interesting for all of us that use and create interfaces.

In the session “Design for the iPadOS pointer”, they talk about how they approached the task. In the beginning, they talk about why traditional pointers wouldn’t work on the iPad. Many of the problems they mention are not even specific to the iPad. It is fascinating to see the many aspects that went into creating “a better pointer”. They could have decided that pointers are a solved problem and not done anything. After watching the session, I wish that same cursor was available on macOS as well.

If you’ve already watched the third season of Dark, check out the session on the iPad pointer:

Design for the iPadOS pointer

– Dom

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