Apple has heard its users’ pleas and added some key features to the iPadOS designed to make the iPad Pro tablets and M1 and iPad air more useful for professional users. Perhaps it is both improved multitasking capabilities and full external display support that would prove this update to have been worth the wait. iPadOS 16.
iPad OS 16
These new features would be arriving on the iPadOS 16, and while there is something for everyone to get excited about, the biggest features revolve around bridging the gap between the iPad Pro tablets and MacOS computers, giving consumers a better reason to pick the higher-end iPad Models over the cheaper entry-level counterpart.
The newly announce reference mode that is found on the iPadOS 16, for example, is limited to the newest 12.9-inch iPad pro, while the stage manager – which includes full external display support and the new “multitasking experience” – is limited to the iPad Pro and the iPad Air models that features Apple’s M1 chip.
This is a welcome change that addresses some of the biggest and the most persistent complaints that users have had concerns about the iPad Pro, namely that it offers more powerful hardware but is hardly anything at the software level to take advantage of that performance level in any substantial way.
Collaboration Gets a Major Focus on the iPadOS 16
The continued lack of a Mac-like experience for the iPad Pro has led to several speculations that the company was deliberating limiting its tablets’ capabilities in order for it to avoid cutting right into the MacBook Air Sales.
The newly introduced iPadOS 16 features dashed those allegations, however, by specifically aiming at the segment of consumers that want a more desktop-like experience with the iPad Pro, but combined with the highly convenient form factor and unique usage scenarios made possible by a tablet.
Apple emphasized collaboration as one major upgrade in the next major version of its iPad operating system, and messages play an important role in that. As stated by the company, users would be able to share content with other users across Apple’s productivity and office apps – Files, Pages, etc. – to add to the select third-party offerings.
What this means is that, for example, multiple people would get to take part in refining the same presentation by accepting an invitation sent through messages. What this means is that multiple people would be able to take part in refining the same presentation by accepting an invite via messages. The messaging app is used to share updates about the content and allows users to chat with each other, though Apple notes that facetime also would be used for the same sort of real-time collaborative communication.
As a part of this, Apple has created a new app that was designed around collaboration. Freeform, as it’s called, functions as a sort of blank canvas upon which a lot of people can work together on projects – and, since it’s for the iPad, it includes the Apple Pencil support.
Mac-Like Apps and Multitasking
Although the iPadOS is already offering a degree of multitasking capabilities, it is very limited compared to what you can do on macOS, and this makes the tablet less appealing for getting serious work done. Apple is looking to change that using the iPadOS 16, and it brings a redesigned multitasking interface.
Just as previously leaked, the stage manager multitasking feature makes it possible for iPad users to open and view overlapping apps that are in possession of different window sizes; this is a big update over the current design, which offers just one limited floating window or the option of opening two apps side-by-side in split-screen view.
To add to viewing tons of apps with different window sizes over each other, users would be offered the ability to minimize app windows on the left side of the screen, where they would be able to quickly toggle between open apps by just sliding some over to the column and tapping others into full view. This contributes to the existing dock, which will, of course still allow users to launch new apps just by tapping. The new feature is expected to make it a lot easier for the iPad users to get work done while staying in the flow, though doing so will no doubt come with one other requirement: a larger screen size.
Now it seems like the iPadOS 16 is turning out to be more like a window organization system, it only makes sense that Apple would take that to the next level by enabling users to view the content on a much larger screen and that’s where the full external display support steps in.
Although the iPad Pro users were already given the option of plugging their tablet into a monitor, the experience still remains incredibly basic to the point of arguably being unusable. In iPadOS 15, users are only offered a mirrored image from their iPad on the external display, that cannot be readjusted to match the resolution of the monitor and the aspect ratio.
With the arrival of the iPadOS 16, that would change assuming that you would have an iPad Pro or the iPad Air with M1. Apple says that the users would be able to work on the iPad using the Apple Pencil while being connected to an external monitor, and there would also be support for dragging content from the iPad to the larger display. Stage Manager will support up to about a 6k external display where up to about four apps can get presented in addition t another four apps on the iPad itself.
These supports would be joined by what Apple calls “desktop-class” apps that have been specifically optimized for the iPad’s display while also offering features akin to what you might be getting from the Mac Software: Toolbar customization options, a system-wide redo and undo experience, newly rebuilt find and replace functionality, and support for changing a file’s extension that is within Apple’s own files app, for example.