Since the launch of the first iPad in 2010, Apple's tablets have been running iOS, the same software as the iPhone. It's set to change now though, as the company has just announced a new operating system for iPads. Starting with the next version, the operating system for Apple's tablets will be called iPadOS. While it will still have access to the App Store and will be compatible with iOS apps, it will have a different focus. Apple tablets aren’t just big iPhones anymore.
The iPadOS comes with new multitasking features. It allows iPads to display two different pages, such as two Microsoft Word documents, on screen simultaneously. Safari has been capable of this for years, and now it’s been extended to other apps as well. A home screen redesign now allows pinning of widgets to the desktop. The new addition means iPad home screen no more looks like iPhone screen stretched out.
The iPadOS also brings improvements to the Files and Safari apps. Files now supports USB flash drives, as well as accessories such as camera. And with SMB support, you can now use Files to share folders to iCloud or to other devices on your network. Safari, meanwhile, now supports desktop versions of websites, and comes with an integrated download manager.
Other new features include three-finger pinch, spread, and swipe gestures for text editing. There’s a scroll indicator, which allows you to swipe along the edge of a web page or app to move through items more quickly. Apple has also added a floating keyboard, which you can shrink and move around the display. Support for keyboard shortcuts has also been added. Updates to Apple Pencil features means it now has just 9ms of latency. Also, there are new Apple Pencil software tools, and a new PencilKit API, which allows developers to make use of the new features in their apps.
Apple now lets you use your iPad as a second screen and pen input device for a Mac. Mouse support, Dark Mode, updated Apple Maps, and support for a Google Street View-like 3D photography feature are a few more new additions. Apple also promises faster app launch times and reduced storage consumption.
Apple has released the developer preview of the iPadOS. A public beta is coming later this month, followed by an official release this fall. Apple iPad is all set to work more like a desktop or notebook computer now.