Apple SVP Craig Federighi on Reinventing the Cursor Experience for iPad

Apple SVP Craig Federighi on Reinventing the Cursor Experience for iPad

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Apple SVP Craig Federighi recently shared some details on how Apple reinvented the cursor experience for iPad in an interview with TechCrunch.

“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.”

Apple's designers took inspiration from other devices like the Apple TV which already used a focus experience.

“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.”

Apple SVP Craig Federighi on Reinventing the Cursor Experience for iPad

On iPad the cursor takes the shape of a small circle, similar to the touch point of your finger. As you move around screen, the cursor will encapsulate targets taking the shape of the button or link you're hovering over. Like lifting your finger off the screen, the cursor disappears when you stop moving.

“When we were first thinking about the cursor, we needed it to reflect the natural and easy experience of using your finger when high precision isn’t necessary, like when accessing an icon on the home screen, but it also needed to scale very naturally into high precision tasks like editing text,” says Federighi. “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."

More details in the full report and interview linked below. Apple's Magic Keyboard with Trackpad for iPad Pro is now available to order in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes.

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