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‘Who Would Have Thought an iPad Cursor Could Be So Much Fun?’

Craig Mod, writing for Wired:

Move the pointer above a button and the circle morphs into the button itself, “snapping” into it, enveloping it like an amoeba, causing it to glow in a pleasing way. What this means is that the usual precision of a trackpad isn’t required to get exact hits on navigational elements. If you own an Apple TV, you’re already familiar with this vibe — it’s how the cursor on the TV “jumps” from icon to icon with a kind of sticky momentum. Similarly, on the iPad home screen, you can “lazily” slam the cursor around and have it lock onto applications with an eerie telepathy not experienced on a desktop OS.

The cursor itself, too, has momentum. It continues to glide on the screen for just a short millisecond after you stop moving your finger on the trackpad. This sounds more annoying than it is in practice. (And you can modify almost all these behaviors to your liking in Settings → General → Trackpad, and Settings → Accessibility → Pointer.) What I’ve found is that this momentum creates a subtle design cohesion between scrolling and scroll bounce, selecting applications, locking onto buttons, and just generally moving things around the screen.

Best piece I’ve seen on the joy and utility of iPadOS’s new pointer support. Five days in and I can’t imagine doing without it.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020