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Home > New Gear > iPadOS: 3 new features to understand how Apple beats the Microsoft Surface
iPadOS: 3 new features to understand how Apple beats the Microsoft Surface

iPadOS: 3 new features to understand how Apple beats the Microsoft Surface

By  Adeline Belluz 2019-06-05 531 0

Apple has released a complete operating system for iPad at WWDC 2019. After 9 years of existence, the tablet is getting closer to a computer.

The first iPad was released in 2010 and since then, Apple has marketed 20 models and versions of its flagship tablet. It took 9 years for it to emancipate itself: at WWDC 2019, Tim Cook made official an iOS version entirely dedicated to the iPad. Its name marks its unique side: iPadOS, on the model of macOS or watchOS.

After years of adjusting iOS to fit a touch tablet, lane change makes sense. From now on, the tablet will be able to plot its course alone and, perhaps, become the first to converge with macOS and laptops. Objective: to finally become the reference in modern IT that it claims to be. The changes made by Apple are many.


The first, and most obvious, is the home screen. Unlike the iPhone, the screen of an iPad on iPadOS shows both the applications on the right and widgets as they might appear in the notification bar on the left. A larger screen for more information: this makes sense.

But for the iPad, Apple goes even further: multitasking has been improved and now allows windows to be grouped together on parts of the screen. This way, you can have two windows open for the same application on the same screen. Apple has added new gestures to manage these interactions, with a drag and drop to add windows and combine them. So we end up with an operating system that is really designed for productivity and that clearly works on the flowerbeds of the Surface tablets, which are now much closer to a traditional computer.


This orientation is clearly seen in the other big addition to iPadOS: a file system. Against all odds and after having swept away this idea for several years, Apple has boosted its Files application. It then proposes a system very similar to that of macOS, designed for a tactile interface, with its files and folders. They can be moved, stored, managed downloads, etc. The icing on the cake: it is now possible to plug in a USB key and access its contents directly. Chocolate melted on top of the icing on the cake: it is possible to use a mouse or trackpad on iPadOS.

Safari is updated to approach a desktop experience, with a download manager and a site view configured by default to display the desktop version and not the mobile version. Keyboard shortcuts have been added and Apple hopes it will be much easier and more convenient to use web applications on an iPad - like Google Drive.


On the Pencil side, since it is now fully integrated into the iPad experience since its compatibility with iPad and iPad mini, Apple first claims to have succeeded in reducing its response time from 20 ms to 9 ms. This should delight creative people who found that Apple's stylus was not yet at the level of pens designed for drawing, especially those from Wacom. All the creative bar has been redesigned: it can be used in a lot of applications like an annotation bar and can be moved as often as you like.

The iPad also gains in versatility thanks to a new compatibility mode with macOS 10.15 Catalina: it can be used as a secondary screen for a MacBook. With or without wire. Similarly, the system will allow the iPad to be an input device: for example, you can use your stylus to draw on an open application on your Mac. Mac which, at the same time, is starting to receive iPad applications. Yes, slowly but surely, convergence is on the way.

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