I doubt most gamers are going to be turning in their gaming laptops for an iPad just yet, but with the addition of Xbox and PS4 controller support to iPadOS last year and the more robust mouse and keyboard support earlier this year the platform has been trending in the right direction for more complex games.
Well at WWDC this week Apple is revealing a new layer to mouse and keyboard control in iPadOS 14 in a session with the very straightforward title, "Bring keyboard and mouse gaming to iPad" (via Gizmodo).
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As it stands, the mouse and trackpad controls for iOS are essentially mimicking a touch event on the screen rather than following the more traditional model used on PCs for years. The full details of this session are not available yet, but it would appear that this is being fleshed out in iPadOS 14 to allow developers to fully leverage the mouse for the kind of precision input needed for gaming.
"Level up your iPad games and add in keyboard, mouse, and trackpad controls. Discover how to use the Game Controller framework to augment your existing titles, bring over games from other platforms, or dream up entirely new interaction experiences."
There's no question that this could be a massive opportunity for a lot of games that just didn't translate well to a touch experience. But time will tell how many users will actually integrate a mouse and keyboard into their iPad gear.
Along with the improved controls, the session also suggests that games can take advantage of a more locked-down experience. That will help avoid having some of the elements of the OS that can be swiped in from the top or side of the device interfere with your gaming.
"Learn how to integrate keyboard and “delta” mouse coordinate events for player motion, and disable pointer system gestures like the Dock or Control Center to take full advantage of full screen gameplay."
It will be interesting to see how developers respond to the new functionality and whether we see someone on stage (virtually or in-person) gaming on an iPad using a mouse and keyboard at the next iPad event.