iPadOS 16: Apple tablets are changing

The iPadOS 16, which was previewed during the keynote address at WWDC 2022, is the new operating system that will arrive on Apple tablets in the fall. Like iOS 16, from which it shares some basic features, it is an update full of innovations. These also include many features designed specifically for the professional users of the latest versions iPadOS they went tight. In particular, Apple has revised the multitasking dynamics for the latest Pro models, improved support for external screens, and added a number of important features for professional tablet use, such as the “application for desktopsApart from all this, with iPadOS 16 there is also a good deal of iOS16 innovations for iPhone, such as family-owned photo libraries, PassKeys for password replacement. multitasking and collaboration.


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Stage Manager, iPads look a bit like Macs

One of the most exciting and unexpected innovations of the iPadOS 16 is a new multitasking feature called Stage Manager. Apple introduced it during the keynote speech after the unveiling of the eponymous counterpart for Mac.
Stage Manager lets you bring groups of different applications to the center of the screen, keeping other applications or groups of applications close to you but “behind the scenes”. The feature is designed to work more efficiently in multiple applications at once, with the ability to overlay and resize compatible application windows. This is the first time the iPad interface has allowed you to work with overlapping “modal” windows, such as on a Mac.

Stage Manager is not just a view function, but a new form of multitasking that does not completely replace the previous one. When using Stage Manager, up to four applications can be left open in the background of the device. Four more can be opened in a second Stage Manager instance on a wired external monitor.

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Apple has confirmed that it needs to be activated Stage manager on an external display, as Craig Federighi pointed out in the WWDC keynote address, it is essential to use a cable and especially an external pointing device (a bluetooth mouse or the Magic Keyboard trackpad), just like on a desktop computer. If the device is not present, the iPad will only reflect the screen on the external monitor.

The Stage Manager on the iPad is a particularly important innovation, as it is the first real attempt to bring an experience comparable to that of a Mac to a tablet, without giving in to the actual merging of the two operating systems, which remain for the most part. part distinct. Despite the common name, Stage Manager for iPad and Mac are based on different needs. On the tablet, Apple wanted to bring a new way of working in multitasking more efficient and suitable for professional tablet models. On the Mac, on the other hand, Stage Manager aims to simplify the work of those who always have multiple windows open at the same time.


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In addition, on the Mac the Stage Manager function does not limit the applications that can be opened and managed simultaneously in multiple tasks, while on the iPad (for reasons of energy and battery savings) you can have up to 4 active applications in the background at the same time. It does not mean that you can not organize more than one at a time, but that only 4 (or 8 if connected to an external monitor) can continue to run at the same time.


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Finally, it should be noted that Stage Manager will not reach all iPads, but only those with M1 chips (iPad Air 2022, iPad Pro 2021 11 and 12.9 inches), ie the models that can better manage the needs required by the new multitasking function. Always on these three models, iPadOS 16 will be able to enable a new virtual memory swap feature, using the tablet’s internal storage to support RAM when multiple applications open at the same time.
Finally, to meet a greater need for screen space, useful for managing the side windows of Stage Manager, Apple has developed a new screen view function that changes the screen resolution to provide more space.

Desktop class applications.

In iPadOS 16, again in order to bring iPads closer to the capabilities of Macs, Apple will launch a series of innovations for applications called “Desktop Class” applications. Applications such as File, the iPad file system browser, can, for example, change file extensions, access a new context menu with file management options, select multiple files at once to perform a common action on all, or to customize the toolbar.

Interface innovations, despite the somewhat unfortunate name that emphasizes the superiority of Mac applications, are an important step towards removing some system restrictions that no longer make sense on powerful devices such as the latest generation iPads. In other words, many of the functions introduced with Desktop Class applications allow you to perform file and program management functions for which it is still necessary to use a Mac today.

Functions for collaboration

The other major breakthrough in iPadOS 16 is real-time collaboration with other iPad users. The capabilities that allow you to work on shared projects at the same time are integrated into several system applications, but the nerve center is the Messaging application. To start collaborating with others on a Keynote file, Pages, Numbers, Notes, Reminders, or to contribute to a common search in Safari, simply send an invitation to collaborate via Messaging to one or more contacts.

The chat created in this way will track changes made by all users in real time. The feature is specifically designed to simplify remote scheduling between small groups, but it is already possible to see possibilities in the school environment. From the same Message conversation, you can then start a direct FaceTime call with all shareholders.

Later this year, Apple will also bring a new app dedicated to remote brainstorming on the iPad. It is called Freeform and is a kind of “Miro” (for those who already know the well-known service). Think of it as an infinite table in which different types of content can be created and inserted as you talk to Facetime with other partners who see and modify the same table in real time. Freeform will likely be free, like all Apple applications, and will be compatible with all of Apple Pencil’s advanced features on the iPad.

Safari on iPadOS 16 will also be packed with new features for collaborating with friends and colleagues. Specifically, you will be able to share tab groups so that more people can contribute to the same Web search. The other important feature that will come with Safari is Passkeys, a promising alternative to passwords that Apple will bring to your Mac and iPhone as well. With Passkeys, you can sign in to a website or app using Face ID or Touch ID.

The time is coming (but not a calculator)

With iPadOS 16, Apple puts an end to the unexplained absence of the tablet version of the Weather app. The app comes directly from the iPhone (with data and animation created in collaboration with The Weather Channel), but has an interface optimized for the iPad screen. The graphical data of the different weather conditions that you can monitor can be customized and you can of course save different locations other than the one you are in.

It should be noted that another key application is still missing inexplicably on the iPad: the calculator. And this year we have nothing to do: we will wait for the iPadOS 17. In the meantime, as Apple suggested in response to an explicit request, we will accept one of the many iPad computers that can be downloaded from the App Store.

The update for iPadOS 16 will come after the summer and will be free. The first public beta will arrive in July. A full list of the many features that come with iPadOS 16 can be found on the Apple website.

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