Apple’s WWDC keynote kicks off in less than two weeks and we expect a great show full of new OS features and hopefully some new hardware. We look forward to major updates to iOS and macOS, but most of all we want some meaningful changes to iPadOS.
Since iPadOS launched in 2019, Apple hasn’t given it the attention or identity it deserves. Last year it got the app library and a disappointing implementation of desktop widgets, but we hope iPadOS 16 is finally the update that takes Apple’s tablet to the next level. Here are eight features we’d like to see unveiled at WWDC.
This is one of those feature requests that pop up on everyone’s wish list every year, and it will remain until Apple decides to do something about it. It’s simple: If Apple wants the iPad to provide a better computing experience, it needs to allow multiple user accounts. Like the Mac, people share iPads with family members and roommates, and you don’t have to be tied to one iCloud account.
As good as the iPad Pro’s hardware, form factor, and processor are, it’s still stuck with the same interface as its distant $329 cousin and severely crippled by iOS. And as it stands, the Magic Keyboard is more of a useful desktop accessory than a productivity tool, but giving it a new interface would make it much more useful. A desktop or pro mode would change that instantly.
Google is doing something similar with its Chrome tablets, but Apple could do better with a hybrid macOS-iPadOS environment that switches seamlessly between tablet and desktop mode while unlocking the benefits of a touchpad with an intuitive, powerful interface.
Speaking of pro mode, if Apple wants the iPad to be an alternative to a desktop computer, it needs desktop-caliber apps. Plenty of third-party developers make them — Adobe, Pixelmator, Shapr3D — but Apple’s core apps are missing in action on the iPad. Where is Final Cut Pro? X code? Logic Pro? Movement? It’s been over six years since Apple released the iPad Pro, and we’re still waiting for Apple to release a single professional app for it.
External monitor support
The iPad technically supports external displays, but it’s as rudimentary as can be. When you connect an iPad to an external display, you see the same home screen as on your iPad, with ugly black bars on each side. Yes, some apps take advantage of its unique dual-screen capabilities, such as Procreate and LumaFusion, but for the most part, the experience is less than great. Like the Magic Keyboard suggestion above, we’d love to connect an iPad to an external display and get an extended desktop like the Mac.
iPadOS 15 has a really cool feature called Quick Notes that lets you swipe from the edge of the screen to open a floating square that lets you quickly jot down your thoughts and then swipe away. It’s a nice feature that’s frustrating because it’s so limited. If Apple can do this direct access with Notes, it can with a calculator, Music, Messages – any app that needs nothing more than a small window and a few seconds of interaction. It’s no different from our desire for interactive widgets on the iPhone, but they would be even more useful on the iPad, where multitasking is key to the experience.
Speaking of multitasking, iPadOS desperately needs an upgrade. Its current incarnation is confusing and clunky, and Apple’s changes to iOS 15 — the Shelf and the three-dot menu — try to clear up some of the confusion while adding unnecessary layers of complexity. Someone new to the iPad can’t just turn on their tablet and instantly know how to multitask – and we bet many, if not most iPad users don’t even know how to use split-screen and slide-over. .
There’s nothing to learn on the Mac. Someone who is brand new to the platform will know how to multitask right away without a tutorial or a learning curve. Multitasking on the iPad doesn’t have to be like the Mac, but it does require the same level of intuition.
Freedom from the net
We understand why Apple likes the grid on the iPhone. With a small screen, icons and apps need to be neat and organized, but that’s not so important with a tablet. Since its debut in 2010, the iPad has been saddled with the iPhone grid that is too wide, too restrictive and too restrictive. And now that we have desktop widgets, the limitations feel even more restrictive.
Widgets on the iPad could be a better experience, but Apple hasn’t stopped giving a customizable, personalized desktop for a long time. Instead of placing them all at the top of the grid, icons should be able to be placed anywhere on the screen and locked to the nearest grid. Then we could create an iPad desktop that we actually don’t mind.
There are reports that Apple plans to launch a few “new” apps at WWDC, but all we really want is for the missing iOS apps to come to the iPad: notably Weather, Wallet, Calculator, and Health. We don’t know why they aren’t there, but it’s about time Apple added them.