Widgets are no longer just an iPhone thing. In iPadOS 15, unveiled at WWDC 2021, iPads also got a bunch of new multitasking features.
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iPad was in great need. Apple on Monday announced new ways to multitask in the next version of iPadOS 15 at this year’s Virtual , along with features like app libraries and widgets that came to iPhone in iOS 14 last year. (Apple also unveiled At his WWDC keynote.) Whether this will be a major change in the iPadOS experience at a time when a lot of apps remains to be seen.
New changes to multitasking took center stage, but apps are still limited to just two at a time, which Apple calls Split View mode. But a new quick-access button aims to make swapping apps in and out of two-app split view an easier process.
iPadOS will also have a “shelf” that makes other open windows accessible at the bottom of the iPad screen, closer to the dock. Swapping out the already open Split View apps in iPadOS 14 requires an awkward swipe up to clear the screen and show other apps; This new layout lets you keep apps open while you browse.
Widgets available in iOS 14 are also finally coming to iPadOS 15. They largely do the same thing, offering larger mini apps that can double as app launchers. iPadOS 15 has large-format widgets that can get really big, spread across multiple columns of apps.
iOS 14’s App Library, a helpful feature that consolidated installed apps into a quickly browsable menu, also made it into iPadOS 15. It can also be launched from the iPadOS Dock, which seems like a faster way to access all apps (and the Dock’s current limit is on apps that can live there).
Apple’s Notes app is also getting a significant boost. Apple is adding mentions and tags to Notes, which looks like another step toward the Slack-ification of Notes. A quick note feature that works with the Pencil makes it so you can swipe up from the corner of the iPad screen and write a note while using another app, a type of quick-access mini app that There seems to be a way to keep the scratch pad for work that lasts throughout iPadOS. That quick note idea looks like the most innovative multitasking idea in iPadOS 15 — it’d be nice if other apps could get that type of quick-function hook, too.
The most interesting new feature, however, is technically part of Apple’s new. Macs can replace the keyboard and trackpad or mouse in a way to control a nearby iPad. Files can also be dragged on the iPad screen by moving the cursor on the Mac screen.
What I’ve been waiting to hear more about was a way for the iPad to extend my desktop into another connected display. It wasn’t mentioned, but Universal Control with a nearby updated-OS Mac looks like a little flavor of that type of cross-display flow.
What else was missing from the iPadOS news? In no significant way does this OS take advantage of the newmodel.