The iPad Pro is in a weird place in Apple’s lineup. Apple doesn’t want it to replace or merge with the Mac, but it does want to position it as a replacement for a PC.
In its upcoming iPadOS software update, the company has made a handful of changes that make the iPad Pro a much more suitable replacement for a two-in-one hybrid notebook.
But the iPadOS’s Home screen is still somewhat hampered by the fact that it’s based on a smartphone operating system.
While Apple doesn’t look like it’s going to fix that in the first version of iPadOS, it did take a step toward making the Home screen more capable and flexible the latest beta version.
New Home Screen Options
One of the biggest complaints about the iPad Pro’s UI is the fact that the Home screen adheres to iOS’s grid-style icon layout. Compared to a traditional computer operating system, it’s not very efficient or flexible.
In previous iPadOS betas, Apple took steps to improve that by making the app icons smaller and allowing for pinned widgets. In iPadOS beta 5, Apple has added the ability for users to customize the app grid on the Home screen. But only slightly.
There’s a new option in the Settings menu that allows users to set their app grid to either 6×5 or 4×5. While it really changes the number of columns that show up on the Home screen, it also makes the actual app icons larger or smaller depending on the layout.
That new menu can be found under a new App Icon Size subheading in Settings > Display & Brightness.
There are two options: “More” and “Bigger,” which correspond with 6×5 and 4×5 respectively.
It’s certainly not a very high level of customization. But it’s worth pointing out because it’s really one of the first times that Apple has allowed any sort of tweaking of the standard Home screen app layout.
What Apple Should Do in the Future
More than anything else, the small changes to the Home screen in iPadOS hint that Apple may be open to making the UI much more customizable in future versions of the operating system.
Even though Apple doesn’t want to merge the iPad Pro and the Mac, it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t make the former device more like the latter in some key areas.
Ideally, Apple could make the Home screen on the iPad Pro a bit like the desktop on a Mac. Fully flexible, where app icons can be completely resized and placable anywhere on the display. (Of course, there’d be an option to stick with the iOS-style layout.)
If Apple doesn’t want to go that far, there are other options. The ability to create “blank” icons to set apart apps on the Home screen could be a major step in the right direction.
You can already use a mouse and generic storage with the iPad Pro in iPadOS. Making the Home screen a bit more flexible and powerful in a future version of iPadOS seems like a no-brainer.