Apple: pointer support in iOS 13, iPadOS will have appeal beyond accessibility

Sarah Herrlinger, director of Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives at Apple, tells TechCrunch’s Steven Aquino that the company realizes that mouse/pointer support in iPadOS and iOS 13 will appeal to a wide range of folks though it’s primarily implemented as an accessibility feature. 

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Developers using the first beta of iPadOS have found that you can control the software using a mouse plugged into your iPad. The feature wasn’t announced by Apple at this week’s Worldwide Developer Conference, and it is a part of the accessibility options rather than a default.

Herrlinger tells Aquino that there is a whole class of users who can’t access their devices without some other device, like a mouse or joystick. She adds that people without disabilities will use this feature, regardless of its actual intended utility, and Apple recognizes that, though the pointer support isn’t mean to alter the primary user interface on iPhones and iPads.

“Accessibility features can benefit more than the original community they were designed to support,” Herrlinger tells Aquino. “For example, many people find value in closed captions. Our goal is to engineer for specific use cases so that we continue to bring the power of our devices to more people.”