It has been reported a few times that Apple is looking to revamp the software experience for the iPad. The company finally showed off what it has been working on today. The iPad now has its very own operating system that’s aptly called the iPad OS. It brings a variety of new features to Apple’s tablet platform in addition to visual interface improvements.
iPadOS is built on the same foundation as iOS but with new capabilities that are better suited to this form factor and the large display. There are new ways to work with apps in multiple windows, more information easily on offer on the new home screen, and improved ways to use the Apple Pencil.
The new Home screen layout has been designed to show more apps on each page. The Today View can be added to the Home screen for quick access to widgets for weather, calendar, events, and more. With Split View, iPad users can work with multiple files and documents from the same app simultaneously. They also quickly see and switch between multiple apps in Slide Over.
Apple has also further integrated the Apple Pencil with iPadOS. It lets users mark up and send entire webpages, emails or documents on the iPad by simply swiping the pencil from the corner of the screen. There’s also a redesigned tool palette which gives quick access to tools, color palettes, object eraser, a new pixel eraser, and more. Apple has made powerful improvements to the Files app as well. It gets iCloud Drive support for folder sharing and also supports external drives so that users can easily plug in USB drives, SD cards or log into an SMB file server all from within the app.
Safari on iPadOS will automatically display the desktop version of a website that’s scaled appropriately for the tablet. It gets features like a download manager, 30 new keyboard shortcuts, and tab management enhancements. All this and more will be available to users when iPadOS is released for free later this year for the iPad Air 2 and up, all iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation and up, and the iPad mini 4 and up.