An iPad dedicated OS called iPadOS is far from a creative name, but its features are definitely one worth looking out for. Building on the same foundation of the iOS, you can expect the iPadOS to grow into its own OS in time, and you can see this being possible based on the many upcoming features available below.
Be sure to also read our highlights on the iOS 13 to find out what else Apple has had to offer during the recent WWDC 2019 keynote.
So here's what makes the upcoming iPad impressive enough that it could likely be a laptop replacement.
Mouse function is in!
This rumour has been around back in April and now it's confirmed! While it’s an accessibility feature for now, it's still a worthy highlight. Apple has implemented this support as an AssistiveTouch feature, and the cursor looks like a typical touch target you’d find in iOS. It’s designed to simulate a finger touch, so you can use a mouse to do this instead. Many iPad owners have been asking for some type of cursor support for years, and this could be the start of Apple supporting this more broadly across its new iPadOS.
Eventually though, it should connect with a wired or bluetooth mouse, making the iPad an ideal laptop in the future.
Better UI and layout
iPadOS brings small but critical improvements in the tablet UI, both in making better use of screen real estate and by introducing new gesture controls. In short: iPad users won't just run an upsized iOS anymore.
The first new change is pretty representative: a new layout that shows more apps on each page. Gone is the era of excessive dead space between all your app icons.
That makes room for Today View, which can be added to the Home screen for quick access to widgets. Swipe to the side and you'll pull up an app widget, which you can switch out with another app from the dock.
Proper file management
Apple has long insisted that iPads represent its vision for the future of computing, but they've always lacked one key feature that made them less than ideal for actual work: proper file management. You could never officially download files within Safari on the iPad, nor could you use iOS's Files app to create local folders on the iPad you could save things into. Thankfully, with the advent of iPadOS, neither of those are problems anymore.
Create folders that you need, organise the files that you want, plus zip and unzip files easily with the upcoming iPadOS!
Multitask in a breeze
Multitasking also gets an upgrade: you can Split View to see two app windows at a time from the same app. Called Slide Over, the app lets users quickly view all their open apps with a natural finder swipe to the side.
Files now has a Column View to take better advantage of the iPad's wide screen. iCloud Drive allows folder sharing, and will show content from a USB drive or SD card if they're plugged in.
Not all about iOS
Safari has also improved in a rather surprising way; it's no longer purely iOS. That's right, you're no longer just viewing mobile sites, as iPadOS views websites in a modified desktop view that's a bit cleaner and supports touch. This should make web apps like Google Docs and Wordpress work a bit better.
Apple's browser also has a few new additions like a download manager, 30 keyboard shortcuts and improved tab management.
More gesture controls
One of the bigger features across the OS are new gestures. So far the ones shown are pretty simple: three-finger pinch to cut, three-finger splay to paste, three-finger swipe to 'undo.' Easy.
In some apps, you'll also be able to two-finger pinch the keyboard to shrink it to iOS mobile-size and move it around. Plunk it next to the side of the screen and boom, you can type on it with one thumb. Neat!
With all these new features for the iPad, it's a sure sign that Apple is looking into ways to make their tablets more attractive among the many competition.