Safari + Magic Keyboard = The Anything Machine

When Apple announced iPadOS in 2019, which importantly included a desktop-class version of Safari, they took the first step towards making the iPad a real work machine. The first version was light years ahead of what they had been shipping with iOS but failed some of my early performance tests. I put the iPad back in my desk and relegated it to a consumption device. Then release after release Safari kept getting better and by the time I ditched my Mac for an iPad Pro in January it could load almost any site. Almost.

While performance was no longer an issue, touch controls could not handle all modern web interaction or on occasion (hi, google analytics) even simple UI elements. Where I could (hi again, google analytics), I would navigate around with keyboard shortcuts, but for sites where I wanted to pan, zoom and manipulate objects, like Figma or Balsamiq it was not possible.

With the release of trackpad support and its flagship product the Magic Keyboard all of this changed. The trackpad functions in Safari now exactly like Mac OS. This really hit me yesterday when someone asked me for a quick wireframe illustrating a conversation we had. We use Balsamiq for quick idea sharing, which has a solid web app. Just as I was going to grab my Mac, I wondered if I could use Balsamiq on my iPad now. Boom! Success! I can drag things around the screen and the cursors is small enough to grab the corners of an element to resize and manipulate it. The idea was captured and shared in the format my whole team expects.

There are many reasons why I think the Magic Keyboard took the iPad to the next level but perhaps the most important is that all of your web tools are now available to you.