iPadOS: Apple gives iPad its own operating system

iPadOS: Apple gives iPad its own operating system

A surprise from the WWDC: Apple has decided that the iPad deserves its own operating system. And that's why iOS on the iPad is now called iPadOS. The system brings some new features that are only available on the tablet.

Apple has revised the home screen on the iPad so that it now also displays widgets as they are known from the notification center. Apps can now be dragged side by side and it is easy to switch between them. This reminds me more of macOS than of iOS.

There are also new gestures. Finally, the days when you had to shake your iPhone or iPad to undo an entry are over - at least on the iPad. A new gesture allows you to undo or restore text entries with three-finger swiping. For this, you have to wipe to the left or to the right.

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Widgets on the new home screen in iPadOS. / © Apple

With three fingers you can mark and insert selected text passages. This should work in all apps. In addition, it should be possible to configure fonts in iPadOS. New fonts are offered via the App Store.

iPadOS also receives the revised Files app. It now looks more like the Finder on macOS and you can make small changes. It's a real treat because until now there was no real file manager on Apple's mobile operating system. Even the original version of Files proved not to be too useful. Now the Files app can also handle SMB network shares and USB sticks.

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The file manager supports external storage media. / © Apple

The new version of Apple's Safari Browser offers new keyboard shortcuts, the text size can be better adjusted and can also be remembered for certain web pages. Apple promises a browser like you are used to on a desktop.

If you use an Apple Pencil, you can be happy that the latency for iPadOS is supposed to be only 9 milliseconds - it used to be 20 milliseconds. If the pencil is moved from one corner of the iPad, the system takes a screenshot, which can then be edited directly.

The presentation of iPadOS was relatively short compared to the presentation of iOS 13 and Apple has probably not yet shown all the new features of the versionless system. We will update this article as soon as we know more.

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  • storm Jun 4, 2019 Link to comment

    I'm not seeing the logic of this. Niw you've got multiple development paths, create incompatibilities in apps between the phone and iPad and be so on. Fragmentation was always portrayed as failure before.

    • Ben Miller Jun 5, 2019 Link to comment

      That's because the iPad has reached a point in its evolution where it needs to part ways with the iPhone and move towards the Mac. It's basically switching teams so its architecture and UX can one day replace/lead the one of the Mac. Meaning: ARM-based Macs, with an ARM-based operating system and an UX known and learned from the iPad. Sharing the same base with the iPhone version of iOS is constraining the iPads evolvement to a define set of rules, mechanism and UX concepts that are based on a small handheld device – the iPhone. The iPad has matured to a point where it has more in common with what a Mac currently stands for than with an iPhone.

      But this of course is a long term process. There will be grinding gears. 

In the meantime the Mac and macOS can benefit from the strengths of the iPad and the things Apple has learned from the iPad and it's UX – this way macOS can also move towards iPadOS. Apple makes use of available synergies, like with letting iPad apps run on macOS with Catalyst. This way developers have an incentive in treating the iPad more like a full-fledged computer instead of a “bigger iPhone”, resulting in more powerful (ARM-based) apps on the iPad. In the same time Catalyst revives the App Store on the Mac, paving the way for the upcoming ARM-based Mac with plenty of Apps on stand-by, waiting to be used on such a device.