Following a tease earlier this year from Apple software chief Craig Federighi, it’s not entirely surprising that the next version of macOS will support the use of certain iPads as external displays. But a new report from 9to5Mac claims that the feature — codenamed “Sidecar” — will go further, enabling iPads with Apple Pencil support to serve as Wacom tablet-style input devices.
According to the report, macOS 10.15 will allow users to send any app window to any external display, including iPads or conventional monitors, using a simple interface: Hover over the existing green “maximize” button to move the content to the external display. The moved window will appear in full screen on the iPad, where it can be viewed — and, if the Pencil is supported — drawn on.
Apple Pencil support is currently included with every iPad from the base $329 model through the iPad mini 5, iPad Air 3, and iPad Pro. It remains to be seen, however, whether Apple supports all of the external display features with every iPad, or just the latest iPad Pro, which features a USB-C connector for higher-speed connectivity. Similarly, it’s unclear whether the feature will work wirelessly or only via cables; Federighi’s tease at an Apple shareholder event in March only mentioned USB-C.
Two third-party developers have released competing external display solutions that enable iPads to function as Mac monitors: Astro HQ’s Luna Display is fully wireless, while Duet Display uses Lightning or even old 30-pin Dock Connector cables. Completely wired solutions have a higher likelihood of delivering the high frame rates and latency-free experience Apple might demand from a macOS-integrated external display solution, but then, the company has supported lossier video streaming through AirPlay for years.
macOS 10.15 is expected to debut on June 3, 2019 at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, and to include new Music, Podcasts, and TV apps as replacements for iTunes. As a sequel to macOS Mojave, it will likely remain in beta form until September 2019.