In 2019, Apple introduced the very first iPad-specific operating system called iPadOS. What this meant is that iPads don’t run normal iOS, designed primarily for iPhones, anymore. But iPadOS is built over iOS, and manages to add some nifty features designed for the tablet format.
After Apples WWDC event last night, we now have a clear look at the next iteration of iPadOS. And this time the OS is moving even further away from iOS. Most intriguing is that, while moving away from looking like iOS, it’s moving closer to looking like MacOS. Sooo, is the iPad your next laptop? Maybe.
Two of the biggest new features require an Apple Pencil, which you can’t use with an iPhone – unless you like drawing on a screen and watching nothing happen. Without further ado, here are our four favourite features announced for iPadOS 14.
Newly designed apps
The redesigned app drawer will organise apps in a more streamlined way, by refining app layouts, introducing a sidebar and efficient toolbars with pull-down menus.
Our favourite new feature is the sidebar, which will make it easy to quickly navigate an app, without messing around with multiple views. You’ll also be able to use the new pull-down menus, which gather important controls into one spot which is easily accessible.
If you’re a Mac user, you’ll know Spotlight very well. Now, iPads will get a similar function, which hovers over other content and will be called Universal Search. This is ideal if you need to focus on many things at once — and who doesn’t?
This new search tool is specifically designed to be an app launcher, a means to access contacts and files and a way to get quick answers to common questions, according to Apple. So it’ll basically make everything more accessible? Pretty much.
Okay, so this one doesn’t come directly from the MacOS arsenal but looks like something we’ve seen on Apple Watch. The Scribble feature might have been inspired by the handwriting input system found on Apple Watch, and we’re here for it.
Since the introduction of the Apple Pencil, users had to awkwardly switch between drawing and typing, depending on what they were doing. But with Scribble, you can write in text fields and even scratch over a word to delete it. These handwritten notes will then be converted to typed text. This’ll make drawing/typing just that much more natural on iPad.
In iPadOS 13, you could have drawn the odd picture in Notes, but with iPadOS 14, Apple Pencil users have more robust drawing features.
For example, if you draw a wonky-looking circle, the system will recognise it and make it geometrically perfect if you pause for a moment after completing one. The Notes app can distinguish writing from drawings, so text can be selected, copied to other documents, or moved to make space for more content. And data detectors can work with handwritten text, which means you can tap on a written number to make a call, or on a date to add it to a calendar. In use, it all comes across like magic paper.
Okay, no one knows for sure when the new OSes announced at WWDC last night will roll out to current devices. But Apple said ‘Autumn’, so that’s, what, spring here?