Citrix's iPad mouse arrives next week

The X1 mouse lets iPad users control Windows applications housed in the data center

Apple iPad users will soon be able to interact with Citrix Systems' virtual Windows apps using a mouse.

When Citrix unveiled a prototype of the X1 mouse in January, the company wasn't sure it would become a real product. But the high level of interest the mouse has generated convinced the company to develop it commercially. It will be launched on May 12 at Citrix's Synergy conference.

Citrix has received positive feedback from organizations of different sizes that want the mobility of an iPad and the security of its application virtualization platform XenApp, Chris Fleck, vice president of Emerging Solutions, said in a blog post.

Many Windows business apps haven't been ported natively to iOS, but enterprises can get around that issue by hosting them on servers and accessing them via Citrix software, which also gives IT staff more control.

However, there's a problem with applications developed to be used with a keyboard and mouse: Apple doesn't allow the use of physical mice on iPads. The X1 mouse movements are transmitted to the servers using Citrix's Receiver client, installed on the iPad.

In addition to iPads, the mouse is compatible with iPhones and Android-based devices. Apple's smartphones can be connected to a larger display via an HDMI cable or Airplay, Fleck said.

Nevertheless, the mouse works best when used with tablets, according to Håkan Andersson, CEO at AceIQ, a consultant that specializes in Citrix. He has used the prototype version and thinks it works well: its tracking is very close to a regular mouse's, he said.

The version that will be launched next week will come with improved tracking, Fleck said via email. Pricing will be announced at Synergy.

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