Apple introduced something big with the iPad during its WWDC event in San Jose, California. The iPad is swerving away from the current iOS that’s running the device and is getting introduced with an independent operating system of its own. iPad OS, which Apple calls, is a step towards the company’s vision of making the tablet device turn into laptop hardware.
The latest introduction to the iPad could answer engineering gaps when Apple shipped the current iPad Pro right after releasing iOS 12. The current iPad Pro included a USB socket that had no software to support it. That changes today — along with a handful of new features coming to iPads with the upcoming iPad OS.
The first thing users would notice on the new iPad with iPad OS would be the visually striking changes, and it’s not just the system-wide Dark Mode feature — in the new iPad, applications are placed in tighter grids allowing the user to maximize screen space and take less gray areas for more work efficiency.
In the past, the widget menu was accessed through making an expressive swipe down gesture from the top screen. Today, Apple is making it more relaxed with a simple left-swipe on the home screen to reveal preferred widgets.
Apple is taking notes from the success of the Slide Over functionality introduced in the iPhone X and later — iPads will soon have its Slide Over gestures.
The problem before with the iPad Pro pretending to be a desktop was the lack of multi-tasking capabilities. Typically, any other desktop would not have the same problem. In the new iPad, it’s taking the first steps on filling in the gap through Slide Over.
iPad users in the near future can add an additional iPhone-width screen by simply swiping right from the right edge corner (as seen on the image above) with the Messages app hovering.
Furthermore, users now have the choice to have other applications pop up from the right edge of their iPad screen by dragging them from the dock. Simple sliding gestures on the pop-up screen will change the application. Meanwhile, dragging from the bottom would fan out all pending applications in the pop-screen. However, Apple did not specify if the feature would also work with other third-party applications.
In addition to Slide Over, new typing gestures are said to make work experience with full touchscreen functionalities a breeze. During WWDC, Apple demonstrated that a simple drag across text would highlight; three-finger pinch to copy, and three-finger spread to paste.
Even more on Apple’s solutions to the multitasking problem is the Split View feature — users can have a virtually endless choice of pairing applications to split a screen together.
Split View functions as an in-app feature — where a user can drag other pieces of content on the screen and enlarge it. For example, a user can have the freedom of opening two Notes pages in a single screen by dragging another note and put them side-by-side one another, as seen in the photo above.
Moreover, Split View pairs across all applications. A user can split the screen between a Notes app and a Pages app — the feature also works across third-party applications, too.
Lastly, to form a sense of order and system with the multiple Split View screens, Apple introduced App Exposé — which simply mean holding the application on the dock would expose all background Split View screens, as shown on the second photo above.
Notably, Split View will significantly improve efficiency when working on an iPad. However, we say that this feature is merely a step rather than the solution. Users are still limited to conveniently having only two screens at ready (three if we count the pop-up screen) as compared to a MacBook that would easily let you access 16 applications with a few gestures.
The updates coming to the Files folder is set to turn things around for the iPad and make it even closer to desktop functionality.
Primarily, the Files folder now works with a column view display that would make accessing files and folders easier to accomplish. There are excellent preview and rich metadata.
But what makes the Files folder even better is the introduction of the USB port. Users can now access and transfer files by inserting a thumbstick into the iPad and optimize them through Folders.
Safari is also getting an update — a Download Manager will be included in Safari to finally allow an Apple device download files directly from Safari. Files are stored in the Folders app afterward.
On the other hand, Safari will soon support web browser for websites who previously displayed mobile versions on the iPad. Apple announced that Google Docs will work great on the iPad.
Overall, the iPad hardware is a great device on its own. The new features coming with the iPad OS will improve it for a more desktop-class experience. However, it’s still worthy to note whether or not the new OS is robust enough to replace a laptop once and for all.
But when a 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $999 before you even add a keyboard, conventional laptops may still be an open idea for more rigid performance tasks.