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WWDC 2019: iPadOS makes the iPad more powerful than ever. Here are the top 10 features

[UPDATE 4/06/2019 14:30]: iPadOS adds mouse support for the iPad

Apple has been pushing the iPad Pro as a viable computer replacement. With each iteration of iOS, they have added more features that offer better productivity. In its latest iteration, the changes are so significant that Apple thinks the iPad experience can now standalone as iPadOS.

iPadOS still shares the same foundation as iOS but it carries additional capabilities to offer greater multitasking and taking full advantage of a larger display. In a nutshell, you’re getting an iOS 13 experience plus a whole lot more. Here are the top ten iPad features that you can expect with iPadOS.

New Home Screen that shows more

One of the biggest complaints I have with the iPad is the waste of display real estate. Even on the largest 12.9″ version, it can only display 5×4 apps in landscape mode and as a comparison, the iPhone XS Max can show 6×4 apps in the same orientation. With iPadOS, they have minimised the space between each app icon and it now shows 6 apps in a row.

On top of that, you can even pin widgets that locked on to the home screen, giving you more information at a single glance. Also not forgetting the iPad dock at the bottom, which gives it a more desktop-like experience.

Multi-tasking at your fingertips with Slide Over

All of your frequently used apps are just a couple of swipes away as you can move between them quickly with slide over. Not only you can move it around and perform drag and drop functions, but you can also swipe up to see all apps in Slide Over.

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Better Apple Pencil experience

The Apple Pencil offers a fluid experience with its 20ms latency. Once you’ve updated your iPad to iPadOS, the latency will be reduced to as low as 9ms thanks to advanced prediction algorithm. The tool palette has been redesigned and you can even mount it to either side of the screen or minimise when it isn’t required.

Full page screenshots

iPadOS now enables you to capture full screenshots. Whether it is an entire web page or document, you can now perform a mark up on a single image.

Your iPad is now a second screen

If you have a macOS device with the latest Catalina version, the iPad with iPadOS can turn into a secondary display. You can connect it via cable or wirelessly up to a distance of 10 metres.

There are various display modes from mirrored to extended, and it also supports continuity sketch, that turns your iPad into a digital drawing tablet for your Mac.

Easier Text Editing

To enable a better text editing experience, iPadOS also introduces a couple of familiar hand gestures. You can copy and paste by pinching in or pinching out with three fingers, or swipe to the left with three fingers to undo or to the right to redo. Text selection is also easier than the iPhone as you can select text by tapping and swiping instantly.

You can also drag the cursor by picking it up and dragging it to anywhere you wish. On top of that, it also supports scroll bar scrubbing by simply dragging the scroll bar.

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Floating Keyboard with swipe support

If you don’t have a physical keyboard, you can use the floating keyboard for easier input if you’re holding it by hand. Similar to iOS 13, it also supports QuickType keyboard where you can use swiping gestures.

Improved file management and USB storage support

For desktop-like file management, Files has been improved with a new column view and you can do much more including external drive support via USB and you can also create folders and add your own files on the local storage.

You can also share iCloud folders easily and it also allows you to access files on the network using the SMB protocol.

Improved Multi-window

With iPadOS, you can now run multiple windows from the same app in SplitView. This means you can open two Email apps, Word documents, Notes or Files side-by-side at the same time. This is great for multi-tasking especially when you need to use the same app for reference.

Desktop experience on Safari

The Safari for iPadOS will offer a different experience compared to iOS. Instead of loading a mobile-friendly website, you will be experiencing a full desktop web experience that’s optimised for touch. According to Apple, it works great for Google Docs, WordPress and even SquareSpace.

Like a desktop browser, there’s also a new Download Manager and you can do more with 30 new keyboard shortcuts for Safari.

iPadOS availability

Similar to iOS 13, the new iPadOS will be rolled out during Fall. Developers can download iPadOS beta starting today and the public beta will start sometime in July.

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iPad OS is compatible for all iPad Pro (9.7″, 10.5″, 11″, 12.9″), iPad Air (3rd gen), iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4, iPad mini (5th gen) and the standard 9.7″ iPad (5th and 6th gen)

You can learn about the full iPadOS features here.

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Alexander Wong