At WWDC 2019, Apple has taken a major leap towards boosting productivity on the iPad by announcing a dedicated iPadOS. The new iPad-specific OS has been tailor-made for the iPad and brings a new home screen, more multitasking gestures, an improved Files app, better text editing experience, and a lot more. The arrival of desktop-class browsing with Safari is another key highlight of iPadOS, alongside dark mode, custom fonts, a floating keyboard with support for swipe-based typing, and a lot more. iPadOS will make its way to eligible iPad, iPad Pro, and iPad mini models via an update this fall. Apple had several other announcements to make at WWDC 2019, including changes to iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS, apart from unveiling a new piece of hardware in the form of the 2019 Mac Pro and the 6K Apple Pro Display XDR.
Starting with the home screen, it has been designed to take advantage of the larger screen real estate by showing more icons. iPadOS will let users add Today View to the home screen for at-a-glance information such as weather updates, news headlines, and more.
There are new multitasking gestures as well, such as drag and drop Split View to open two apps side by side, alongside App Expose to let users have a quick view of an app's open window with a single tap.
One iPadOS announcement in particular that elicited a great response from the WWDC keynote audience was the new set of text editing gestures. Pinch with three fingers to zoom, expand to paste, and swipe to undo looked great during the presentation. Slide Over will now let you quickly switch between apps with a swipe.
iPadOS also makes the Apple Pencil more versatile, thanks to a redesigned tool palette to provide quick access to a wide range of tools such as ruler, eraser, etc. Moreover, Apple has also managed to bring down the input latency from 20 milliseconds to 9 milliseconds. Additionally, one can instantly mark up and share webpages, documents, or emails with a single swipe from the corner of the screen with an Apple Pencil.
Another key way in which iPadOS is pushing the boundaries of productivity is desktop-class Web browsing experience on Safari. Websites will now open in desktop view on an iPad running iPadOS, with an optimised touch experience, and proper content scaling. Safari in iPadOS will also bring improvements to tab management.
The iPad-specific OS also brings enhancements to the Files app, letting users share entire iCloud Drive folders, while also allowing the recipient to access the latest version of a folder.
Moreover, a new Column View has been added to the Files App to let users see high-resolution previews. New keyboard shortcuts and zip and unzip support are among the other features arriving with the improved Files app for iPadOS.
iPadOS also shares a host of features with the newly announced iOS 13, such as dark mode and custom font support from platforms like Adobe, Monotype, etc. that will be available from the App Store, a redesigned Photos app, improved Apple Maps, faster Face ID, and smaller app update packages to name a few. Another key change is the arrival of external drive support, be it a thumb drive or an SD card.
Developer Preview of iPadOS is now available to users enrolled in the Apple Developer Program, while the first public beta will be released next month.
iPadOS will be rolled out widely this fall and will be supported on iPad Air 2 or a later model and all iPad Pro models. iPad Mini 4 and iPad 5th generation, as well as all later models in the series, are also in line to get the free iPadOS upgrade.