The introduction of a trackpad brings an on-screen cursor icon normally used to navigate non-touchscreen devices like laptops to Apple’s tablet and its iPadOS software for the first time.
The trackpad is built into a new Magic Keyboard and cover, which also includes a new viewing position where the iPad “floats” above the keyboard.
The updated iPad has also been given an extra ultra-wide camera lens and a Lidar scanner used in augmented reality.
Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi said: “We’re making iPad even more capable and versatile by bringing trackpad support to iPadOS.
“We carefully considered the best way to integrate trackpad use into a touch-first environment while retaining everything our customers know and love about iPad.”
The addition of the trackpad brings the iPad closer to some of its rivals – most notably Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet/laptop hybrid devices – which feature a laptop-style keyboard with a trackpad but also a detachable screen which can be used as a tablet.
Apple made the announcement alongside that of an update to its MacBook Air, which has been upgraded to include the firm’s latest keyboard with a redesigned scissor mechanism under the keys, following some issues with the previous design on its laptop range.
The new MacBook Air has also been given a performance and storage boost.