It’s official: the iPad is getting its own operating system. On Monday, Apple announced that the tablet will now run on its own platform called iPadOS. But it doesn’t just come with a new name. iPadOS has its own set of exclusive features and additions. Here’s what you need to know.
New Home Screen and Multitasking
One of the first additions is the inclusion of a new Home screen, which includes a tighter app grid that will allow more apps to fit on the display. Apple also announced the ability to pin widgets right on the Home screen.
For multitasking, there’s a new addition to SlideOver that works a lot like the app switcher, letting users leverage gesture-based controls to switch between open apps in multitasking
iPadOS also supports split screen support for individual applications. That means you can have two instances of an app open in split view. This works on both native apps, as well as third-party apps. Yes, that means you can have two Microsoft Office app windows open side-by-side.
Files has also been updated with column view, quick actions, metadata and file previews directly with the app. iCloud Drive has also been updated with folder sharing and SMB file sharing support.
Notably, iPadOS now also works with external generic media. That means you’ll be able to plug in a flash drive, SD card or SSD. Users will also be able to plug their cameras directly into the iPad via USB-C for photo importing.
Apple is adding desktop-class browsing to its tablet. That means Safari will automatically request the desktop version of websites, but optimized for multitouch.
The iPadOS version of Safari will also include a download manager, 30 new keyboard shortcuts, and a lot more.
Navigation is also a lot easier in iPad OS, with several updates to how the cursor works via multitouch.
Text selection and navigating long documents will be a lot easier. Users can pick up and drag the cursor anywhere in the OS and selecting text will no longer require a double tap.
Apple is also adding some clever new gesture to make working with text easier, like a three-finger tap to copy, a three-finger spread to paste, and a three-finger swipe to undo.
Users can also make their keyboards smaller, allowing them to type out messages with a single finger.
In another move that will bring the iPad closer in capability to a computer, the tablet will be to support a much wider range of fonts, which will be downloadable in the App Store.
Apple has also given Apple Pencil a big boost by bringing its latency down to 9 milliseconds. Apple has also redesigned the tool palette and is also adding a PencilKit API to let developers add the tools to their own apps. Marking up is also quite a bit easier in iPadOS. Stay tuned for more information.