Thursday, June 6, 2019



What’s in a name? Quite a bit, actually. While built on the same foundation as iOS, iPad has become a truly distinct experience. With powerful apps designed for a large Multi‑Touch display. Multitasking made simple with intuitive gestures. And the ability to drag and drop a file with a fingertip. It’s always been magical. And now it’s called iPadOS.

Here’s the list of new features.

Mitchel Broussard:

Apple today revealed “iPadOS,” a new version of iOS that Apple has designed specifically for the larger screens on the iPad family. Apple said that it renamed the OS to recognize the “distinctive experience” of iPad.


To enhance iPadOS even more, Apple updated Split View to allow users to work with multiple files and documents from the same app at the same time. For example, users can have two emails opened side by side in Mail, or two notes in Notes. Slide Over allows users to quickly view and switch between multiple apps, and App Exposé provides for a quick view of every open window.

Ryan Christoffel:

Files has a new Column view, joining the existing Grid and List views available before. Column view takes better advantage of the iPad’s large display, making it easier to dive into nested folders without getting lost. And a key element of the new Column view is a Preview pane on the right-hand side that includes a visual preview of the currently selected file, rich metadata for that file, and a selection of Quick Actions to easily do things like use Markup, create a PDF, or rotate an image.

At long last, Files includes built-in support for external storage devices. USB drives and SD cards can now be connected to your iPad and the documents they contain can be accessed directly from Files and moved into a separate file provider if you wish.


The most important change to Safari is that it now loads desktop versions of websites by default. But not the same crippled desktop shells that previously existed on the iPad: true desktop versions that are fully optimized for touch input.

Matt Birchler:

Apple fails their own “Safari for iPadOS is a desktop-class browser” as they still ask you to not use their website from it.

On the other hand, Google Docs (on this and other more complex, but also more personal docs) works pretty great. Smooth and works as I’d expect. Really nice!

Colin Cornaby:

Wonder if iPad OS could imply an organizational shift in Apple as well. iPhone and iPad software being the same means they share a team and resources.

...or it’s just marketing!

Guilherme Rambo:

It’s still iOS, still runs SpringBoard, still called “iPhone OS” in the manifest.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Multi-window really is multi-window. You can spawn as many windows as you want in an app and cycle between them as necessary, or tear them off into new spaces

Nick Lockwood:

I don’t get the whole iPadOS rebranding. Does that mean it’s a new target, like tvOS or watchOS, if so what happens to hybrid apps? Or is it just a marketing gimmick, in which case what possible benefit does it serve? Will they rename iOS back to iPhoneOS again now?

Steve Troughton-Smith:

‘iPadOS’ is a statement, not an OS. iPad is now a top-tier platform on its own, which means Apple needs to address it as such every year with new features. Means they can’t ignore it anymore

Craig Federighi:

It’s become a truly distinct experience. It’s not an iPhone experience. It’s not a Mac experience. The name is a recognition of that. We’ve expanded the domain where people can say the iPad is the best solution.

Tom Warren:

Reminder: Apple CEO Tim Cook once described laptop / tablet hybrids as like trying to converge a “toaster and a refrigerator.” Apple has an iPad Pro with a keyboard, and now it looks like it’s going to create a dedicated iPadOS for it

Dan Masters:

Precisely what concerned me when I heard about iPadOS – Apple is piling all this desktop functionality onto iPad, but is missing the desktop UX, thus ruining what made it appealing in the first place: its simplicity.

To be sure, it’s not an easy problem.

Juli Clover:

As rumored, iPadOS introduces mouse support for the first time, allowing a USB mouse to be connected to an iPad for the first time.

Mouse support is not a standard feature, but is instead available as an AssistiveTouch option within the Accessibility settings on your iOS device.

Owen Williams:

The funniest thing about the iPad getting mouse support? Apple goes out of their way to avoid saying mouse anywhere. In the pairing menu, the mouse name is blocked and it just says “accessory” 😂

See also: Hacker News.


Update (2019-06-18): Federico Viticci:

For now though, after using the iPadOS beta on my 12.9" iPad Pro for a few days, I’d like to share some initial considerations on iPadOS and what it means for the future of the platform.

Rui Carmo:

Having read about (and watched videos of) iPadOS, I still get the feeling that this is much ado about a few little tweaks (again, Apple sweating out the details and doing incremental improvements) rather than an actual breakthrough.

John Gruber:

I think “desktop-class browsing” in Safari is going to be a game-changer for many people. It really is like browsing on Safari with a Mac.

I still don’t get the multitasking metaphor on iPadOS, though.

Jason Snell:

Overall, I’m excited by iPadOS and where Apple is taking the iPad. But it wouldn’t be the post-WWDC hangover period if I weren’t also realizing that some of my most wished-for items just didn’t make it, or didn’t manifest themselves in the way I’d hoped. But that’s okay—this is natural any time fantasy crashes into cold, hard reality.

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The best thing about separating the iPad from iOS is that Apple can make more substantial changes under the hood such as changing the virtual memory model.

Support for SMB networks drives in Files is nice, and long overdue (like much of what was announced for iPad today).

I would be more excited for the enhancements to Shortcuts across iPadOS/iOS, but the main question in my mind is, will shortcuts actually work? I've long since given up on trying to use Siri Shortcuts... now even when launching shortcuts via the home screen widget, there's a 50% it'll just launch the Shortcuts app and... do nothing.

Stuff like this needs a >0.950 batting average to be relied upon, and so far my experience has been <0.500.


That was my experience with Shortcuts, too. I gave up. One of my favorite shortcuts was stupid simple: create a 3 minute timer when I say the phrase "coffee time". It worked only about 75% of the time. The weird thing was that the other 25% of the time Siri would give me a Maps result! "Okay, I found some options near you". And then it would show locations of coffee shops. Even though it correctly interpreted my "coffee time" input, it would randomly not recognize it as a trigger phrase. WTF?

Actually, I find that Siri doesn't work reliably at all. I'd say about 10% of the time I'll try to invoke Siri, and my iPhone will pretend that I didn't say anything at all. It'll just give me the "Go ahead, I'm listening" and then "Some things you can ask me" EVEN THOUGH when I'm speaking, the Siri glowing blob will actually be animating to show it's receiving my voice input. It's so bizarrely broken. I basically only ever use Siri to "Remind me to do X tomorrow at 8am" or whatever. At least that seems to work almost all the time and it's easier than opening the Reminders app and doing it all manually.

Yeah, the one time I recently tried to use Siri to set a timer, I had already hit the cap on my cell data, so it just hung there indefinitely. Took me a second to realize it has to call out to the network even for local stuff.

Adrian Tineo

@remmah, @Ben G. I’ve had success by setting longer trigger phrases to Siri Shortcuts, also choosing synonyms for lighter voice recognition, so in this case it could be “hey Siri, begin coffee time”. Like that there is less likelihood that other competing workflows, such as with Maps, take over.

Thanks for the tip, though for me the issue isn't a custom shortcut conflicting with a built-in command. For me, Siri correctly recognizes the phrase, but often throws errors along the lines of 'Shortcuts isn't working right now', or a command just launches the Shortcuts app and doesn't do anything.

Yeah, and if I wanted Siri to locate a coffee shop near me, wouldn't it make more sense that I'd say "Find a coffee shop near me" ???

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