Apple helped pioneer the technology known as multitouch with the iPhone in 2007 and again with the iPad in 2010, paving the way for touchscreen devices in a market that until then had been saturated with smartphones and PDAs that needed a stylus for input. Apple released the iPad Pro in 2015 and introduced the Apple Pencil, a pen tool that can be used for touch input or for drawing in certain apps, but largely mirrored what a finger can achieve in the OS.
A trackpad, if it meant the iPad would introduce traditional mouse input, would be seen as an unlikely step for Apple to take given it is has been so keen to not cross its iPad and Mac lines over too much – an example being that no MacBook has a touchscreen, despite competing Windows laptops including them.
Popular third-party keyboard manufacturer Brydge recently released an iPad Pro keyboard with a trackpad that is due to ship in April. It takes advantage of iPadOS’ Assistive Touch options that allow for mouse input, though these are accessibility features that Apple doesn’t intend for mainstream use.
That could change if Apple decides to release its own version of the keyboard. It’ll be interesting to see how the company would position it given its reluctance to move away from touch input on the iPad.