Apple officially previewed the latest version of the iPad operating system at WWDC22. iPadOS 16 unveils the versatility of the iPad with powerful new productivity and collaboration features that are soothing and satisfying. The new operating system has been identified to share a number of features with iOS and macOS and will be ready for launch later in the year. Some of these shared features include a redesigned Home app, Stage Manager and full external display support, new ways to collaborate via Messages, big updates to Mail and Safari, iCloud Shared Photo Library and more. Asides from that, the operating system is also getting some improvements of its own, like the Reference Mode and Display Zoom. There’s a new weather app and new whiteboard collaboration software coming later this year.
According to Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. While delivering the keynote, “iPad is our most versatile device, and we’re excited to take what it can do even further with iPadOS 16.” Federighi further explains that “With Stage Manager, which makes multitasking on iPad to a whole new level, plus new ways to share and collaborate via Messages, Safari, and the new Freeform app, and new pro features like Reference Mode and Display Zoom, users can get even more done on iPad.”
The latest iPadOS is getting a huge boost on the multitasking experience, especially for iPads equipped with an M1 chip. Apple announced the Stage Manager feature for macOS Ventura, that feature will also be available iPadOS 16. The Stage Manager feature will allow windows to overlap with one another and can be dragged and dropped into place. It can benefit from the improved screen real estate of an external display (resolutions of up to 6K are supported). It will allow up to eight apps to be displayed simultaneously (four on the iPad itself, and four on the external display).
Apple unveiled the collaboration features in a quite lengthy demonstration. You can start collaborating directly from the share sheet in office apps like Pages, this will give other users the ability to get right in to make edits to a central document. This is one that’s quite similar to Google’s offering of services for Docs and Sheets. New features in Messages make it easy to start collaborating and managing shared content across Files, Keynote, Numbers, Pages, Notes, Reminders, and Safari, as well as third-party apps. According to a press release by Apple, APIs will soon be offered to developers to aid similar functionality being added to their own apps.
Another addition to the latest operating system is the new whiteboard app called Freeform. Freeform presents a powerful new collaboration tool with a flexible canvas that gives users the ability to see, share, and collaborate all in one place without worrying about layouts and page sizes. It supports Apple Pencil and can pull in a variety of filetypes including PDF documents, images, and web links. Freeform is set for release later this year.
Safari gets a big update too, making it even more collaborative, customizable, and secure. Browsing in Safari is even more secure with passkeys, an easier and safer sign-in method designed to replace passwords on the web and in apps. Passkeys are kept on iPad and are specific to the site users create them for.
Apple has emphasised how it’s been intentional about bringing iPadOS up to speed with its desktop operating systems. Apple states that much-requested features like the ability to view folder size on iPad, and the ability to change file extensions are now available. A new reference colour mode should also benefit photo and video workflows when working on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with Liquid Retina XDR display. In an attempt to also give Apple users some more screen real estate to work with, a Display Zoom feature that lets you boost the pixel density of M1-equipped iPads has been added. The new update is already available for developers’ preview, with a public beta fixed for July while the Fall season has been marked for Full release. According to Apple iPadOS 16 will be only available for the “iPad (5th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), and all iPad Pro models” respectively.