For many years, the systems for iPhone and iPad shared the common name “iOS”, until Apple introduced iPadOS in 2022 and gave the iPad a little more independence. This was also intended as a reaction to the criticism that the iPad is only an iPhone XXL, but makes far too little use of the possibilities of the larger display. In fact, Apple gave the tablet functions that put the iPad more in the direction of a notebook, for example by using several apps at the same time. With iPadOS 16, Apple wants to take another step to unleash the potential of the iPad. As stated in reports prior to WWDC, this is a significant update.
Technologies for “desktop-class apps”
Apple has made improvements across the entire system to better utilize the iPad. This is largely a large number of small adjustments, but also some major changes. Above all, it should be about giving developers the tools to develop more powerful apps. For the first time there is also virtual memory (“Virtual Memory Swap”), which, however, requires an M1-based iPad. Apps are then allowed to use 16 GB of RAM – so far, applications have been rigidly terminated as soon as they were too memory-hungry.
Stage Manager – window system for iPads
On the iPad you could always use full-screen apps, and later two side by side, but there is a massive step with iPadOS 16. Stage Manager works almost exactly like on the Mac and allows quick switching and previews all open windows. Several open windows are thus possible, which also overlap. Apple massively upgrades the system and fulfills the promise to turn the iPad into a productive system. However, there is a limitation, only four apps are possible at the same time.
Apple closes a noticeable gap, because for the first time the weather app is also available on the iPad. This can be organized using a kind of widget system in order to compile an individual weather report. In addition, Apple provides the “WeatherKit” so that developers can integrate weather functions into third-party apps.
Free Form as a new app
The easiest way to describe the new app is as a whiteboard on the iPad. Ideal for brainstorming sessions, says Apple – or for compiling information during a phone call. Of course, the Apple Pencil is also supported so that users can quickly take notes.
iPadOS, like iOS 16, is scheduled to be released in the fall. Apple lists a 5th generation iPad or a 5th generation iPad mini, a 3rd generation iPad Air and all iPad Pro models as system requirements. However, there are numerous limitations, because all the innovations shown are only offered by the M1-based devices.