iPadOS: Apple TLD Review

Apple’s annual developer conference concluded just a week ago. Apple revealed iOS 13 for the iPhones and iPod Touch with major performance improvements. Apple also launched the new independent OS for iPad called iPadOS. iPad OS was a much awaited update as this brings the iPad so close to replace a notebook. The iPad with the new iPadOS will be a proper replacement for those who browse the internet, watch videos and share files using a notebook.

Why iPadOS

Apple has been offering it’s iPad line-up with iOS which meant that there will be some compromises. The iPad is a better device than the iPhone for sure with the bigger display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. But as it came with iOS, the iPad couldn’t use it full potential as it was limited by the operating system. iPad with iOS couldn’t do desktop class browsing and multitasking, couldn’t read thumb drives and the homescreen was very similar to the iPhones. This was a huge hurdle for the iPad as the Operating System had a huge impact on people selecting a notebook over the iPad. A dedicated operating system independent of iOS was always needed and Apple has delivered it with the iPadOS.

What’s New With iPadOS

Thanks to the new iPadOS, the iPad now has many new features that make it a much more capable productivity-focused device.

“iPad transforms how people work and express their creativity, and with iPadOS, we’re taking it even further by delivering exciting capabilities that take advantage of its large canvas and versatility,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

And yes, Apple has taken advantage of the iPad’s large canvas and versatility by offering some exciting new features.

Improved Multitasking

The biggest concern with iOS 12 on the iPad was with multitasking. Multitasking on the iPad was very similar to the iPhone as it ran on iOS. With the iPadOS, Apple is making important enhancements to multitasking on iPads, particularly within Split View and Slide Over. 

iPad users can now work with multiple files and documents from the same app at once. One in the primary window with additional app available in Split View.

SlideOver becomes much more useful as it is now possible to switch between apps inside it, which leaves your primary project window untouched. You achieve this using the slight swipe up from the bottom of the Slide Over window.

All these improvements to Split View and Slide Over makes the iPad much easier to work within apps, between apps to get things done.

New Homescreen

The home screen of the iPad on iOS was not properly used. There were huge gaps between apps and the space was not utilized properly. With the iPadOS, Apple has made the home screen much tighter with respect to gaps between apps and there’s also a panel to the left where all the widgets will take its place to provide the user with some extra information about the device.

Support for Thumb Drives

If you are someone who uses the iPad for productivity on the go, you would have had trouble with the portability as the iPad on iOS did not support for external storage and thumb drives. Attach a USB-C memory stick into the bottom of the iPad Pro 2018 and you’ll be able to open the files up in iPadOS’ native Files app, or third-party offerings, like Adobe Lightroom. This also means that you can import pictures directly to the editing app of your choice and start working with it on the go.

Desktop Class Browsing with Safari

Safari was the default browser that came with iOS from the inception and it was also the default browser for the iPad. It was not bad by any means but it was always behind the browsing experience from a notebook. The Safari on iOS could not display the desktop website unless the user asks it to. With iPadOS, Apple has brought many major improvements to safari giving it desktop class browsing. Safari now has a proper download manager, photo upload options and will properly resize websites without pushing you towards the mobile version. Safari on iPad also introduces 30 new Safari shortcuts for external keyboards.

Text Handling

iOS had many text handling gestures and it takes a lot of practice and time to master those. But for those who have an iPad, it gets even tougher and confusing, as there are more gestures to work on with. iPadOS comes with new navigation and text handling gestures making it easier and intuitive to use your iPad.

● Double-tap: Quickly select address, numbers, email addresses, etc.

● Tap and swipe: Select text.

● Triple tap and swipe: Select sentence.

● Quadruple tap and swipe: Select paragraph.

● Pinch up with three fingers: Copy.

● Pinch up with three fingers twice: Cut.

● Pinch down with three fingers: Paste.

● Three finger swipe left: Undo.

● Three finger swipe right: Redo.

● Pinch in on keyboard: Floating keyboard

All these gestures are pretty easy and intuitive to learn and with enough practice, you can master all of those gestures.

Improved Apple Pencil and Sidecar

Apple made some new changes to Pencil as well making it even better. Apple has improved the latency from 20ms down to 9ms making it even more responsive and smoother. 

With macOS Catalina’s Sidecar feature, you’ll be able to use Apple Pencil with your Mac, sharing content onto your iPad’s display.

Apps Currently Compatible with Sidecar are :

● Adobe Illustrator

● Affinity Designer & Photo

● Cinema 4D

● CorelDraw

● DaVinci Resolve

● Final Cut Pro

● Maya

● Motion

● Painter

● Principle

● Sketch

● Substance Designer & Painter

● ZBrush

● Adobe Lightroom

Better Files App

The Files app was a good and much needed addition to the iPad but it needed improvement in sharing and file preview. With iPadOS, Apple introduced Cloud Sharing and Column View. With Cloud Sharing, it is much easier to collaborate on projects and Column View makes it easier to find what you need.

Final Review

With the new iPadOS, Apple has addressed all the problems we faced with iOS on iPad. iPadOS brings improved multitasking, files app, text handling, new gestures and desktop class browsing.

And of course, iPadOS comes with all the headline features of iOS 13 including the much-requested Dark Mode, a redesigned Photos app, the Apple ID sign-in option, enhancements to AR, custom Memoji in the Message app and a lot. 

Overall, the iPadOS on iPad has made the iPad come close to become a proper notebook replacement. Many notebook users will find the iPad running on iPadOS much appealing than the notebook if they get familiar with Apple’s Ecosystem and the gestures.

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Uvan Sankar K
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