iPadOS public beta preview: worthy of the new name

The operating system of the iPad has a new name, iPadOS, and today, Apple is allowing anyone to install a beta version. When it is officially published this fall, I think it will be a great update for most people, which will significantly change their opinion of what they are capable of doing.

I am excited by all the changes that Apple has made in the operating system to be in agreement with the new name. The ability to get more screen applications in multiple "windows" has been significantly improved, Safari is a much more capable file browser, the file browser has been significantly improved and working with text is easier than ever.

Right now, however, I would not expect to install the public beta version, unless you have a spare iPad or do not mind the serious errors. That is our default advice for any beta software, of course, but in particular, it's worth waiting for the next version, at least in this one. I've been using the second beta for developers for about a week, which Apple says is practically identical to today's public beta, and it's definitely too hard for everyday use.

These are my new favorite features in iPadOS, which focus mainly on what is specific to the iPad. To see what comes with the iPhone in iOS 13, Chaim Gartenber

g has it covered in a separate article and video. If you want to know what's new in MacOS Catalina, Chris Welch also has a story about it.

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Although I think iPadOS will unlock many new uses for a lot of new people, I'm not analyzing if you can really replace your laptop here. I am really obsessed with that question, but I also admit that it is an obsession that most people do not share.

Instead, I think most people already know what they want to use an iPad for, and it's not their only computer. That does not mean that I think it is no more than a device of media consumption, far from it, but the whole discourse on "the future of computers" is exhausting and a little exaggerated. Also, there are enough errors here that I am reluctant to make definitive judgments.

Instead, I'm just going to see a preview of the new features and I'll talk a little bit about why each of them could be really useful for all not just the people who try to make it their only one device.

ipados public beta preview worthy of the new name


Apple has made significant improvements in the way you can create and organize windows on your screen. The word "window" is not quite right, of course, because the iPad does not support them in the traditional sense, but there is still no better word for these objects on the screen.

I think the most important improvement is the ability to have multiple applications in the Sliding view. That is the window of an application that hangs over whatever you are doing. You can create one by dragging an application from the dock or by sliding from the right.

The new feature here is that you can stack multiple applications in Slide Over, instead of having just one. Just like it does on an iPhone, you can quickly slide between them by dragging a bar at the bottom of the window, or you can swipe up on that bar to display all the applications in Side Over.

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You can "fan" the applications in the Sliding stack.

It seems that you have a small spare iPhone X on the right side of the screen that you can throw and throw whenever you want. There are a lot of applications that I want to have on hand, mainly for fast things, like Music, Calendar and Messages. Having them available without taking up the entire screen and interrupting what I am currently doing is a great update. I think it's the number one thing that will improve everyone's experience on the iPad, whatever their level of experience.

For more advanced users, Apple is adding two related functions: Applications in multiple spaces and Application Exposure. If you understand what those technical terms mean, it's likely that you were excited. If you do not, you will learn to use them or you will get confused when the iPad suddenly makes something confusing. Do not worry: I'm in the previous category, and often I'm still a little puzzled by how these things work. Let's review one by one.

"Applications in multiple spaces" is iPad-ese to have multiple windows from the same application. He does this all the time on his laptop, but it has not been an option for iPad apps before (except for the Safari tabs). Essentially, you can drag items from an application (such as a note, an email, a composition window or a tab) and, as you drag, it will allow you to create a new window. Then you can place it in a split view or in one of those sliding windows.

It's a great thing for people who want to compare two documents from the same application or create other work settings relevant to the context. But as I said, it's also a bit confusing: not all applications are compatible with the new function, and it's not always clear which elements can be converted into a new window, so you have to try to drag things to see if there's something. , happens.

It is also confusing because the iPad organizes applications in "spaces", what you see when you go to see your applications open. Some of them are linked in a split screen, and others are sitting in the Slide over section.

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App Exposé shows all cases of windows from a single application.

That's where App Exposé comes in. Instead of seeing all your applications, this feature only shows the windows of a single application. To activate it, press and hold the application icon in the dock or home screen, or touch it when the application is open on your screen.

Do you have all that? It is not very easy to understand, and I am tempted to say that it is not very intuitive either. But I also recognize that the traditional desktop UI is also very rare. We are just more used to it. The good news is that, whether you can resolve this or not, the basics of split-screen and open applications have not changed at all.

By the way, all these things from multiple windows do not feel very marked yet. Dragging the icons to turn them into windows is still really faulty and hard to nail. Apple wants the rule to be something like "anything you can drag, you can make a window," but we're a long way from that in this beta version. That's one of the big reasons why I do not recommend this beta version, even for so-called "emotion seekers".

The most important change, however, is a policy change: soon, Apple with requires that iPad applications support Split Screen and Sliding. Therefore, applications that occupy the entire screen will be operated as they are supposed to.

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New start screen

No, Apple does not get rid of the classic grid of icons and folders, although you can get six columns of them now, making better use of the iPad's large screen. The big change is that you can anchor the widgets that are normally found on the "minus one" screen. I think the widgets on the iPad and the iPhone are great and are not used as much as they should be, so I'm happy to see the option to make them more prominent.


The photo app on both the iPad and the iPhone is receiving a great update. For me, one of the most impressive things is how fast is .

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That speed is important. I'm sure there are people who know exactly when a picture was taken or in what album they've saved it. But I suspect that most are like me: people who take tons of photos and simply let them accumulate. Therefore, being able to quickly zoom in and out different views means that you can only search for what you need without knowing the exact search term or organize your photos obsessively.

Apple has also modified the way the photos are organized automatically. There is a tab bar at the top with years, months, days and all the photos. Time-based groups automatically group all your photos through local machine learning in events that Apple thinks you'll want to see, along with the main art previously selected.

I found that this is quite useful, but sometimes, the photos choose a strange image or highlight something that I do not care much about. The good thing about these views is that they automatically filter screenshots and receipts, but they're still in the All Photos section.

I'm even more excited about the new photo editor. To edit photos, the features offered are practically the same as before, but the interface is much better. It is fully optimized for touch in a much more intelligent and easy to understand way than before. In fact, I think many people will learn the basics of photo editing from this interface. It makes the terms and processes accessible where, before, they were opaque and confusing.

But I'm burying the most important part of the new photo editing interface: it also works with video, and it does it really well. Adjusting the color, cropping and everything else in a video is super easy. I want Apple to put this level of attention and accessibility in all its video editing products.

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Apple claims that Safari on iPadOS is a "desktop class", although what that means is a matter of debate. I do not mean in the sense of "what does desk class mean?" (Although I could certainly have that argument). I mean in the sense of "does it really do everything we want it to do?"

From a technical perspective, there are two main changes. First, Safari on the iPad now tells websites that it's actually Safari on the Mac. That means that many websites that previously served mobile versions of their sites will now serve their full desktop versions. Second, those desktop versions usually expect a mouse pointer to be on the computer, so Apple created a kind of translation layer that makes its tactile input look like a mouse input on those sites.

What does all this mean from a practical point of view? perspective? Mainly, surfing the web on your iPad feels a little less limited. More sites will serve you the full version of their pages. Web applications like Google Docs also work quite well, although sometimes you will still be redirected to a mobile application, even if you do not want it. (Ironically, Apple said it would work much better for blog content management systems, but Verge's Chorus CMS was already optimized for mobile Safari, so this fake desktop system is worse.)

Apple Also moved some buttons in the toolbar. My favorite change is to the left of the URL where there is a button to change the zoom of the page, request the mobile version of a site or modify the settings specifically for that site that will persist the next time you visit it.

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Safari also finally has a download manager, which means you can download any file from the web, not just images. The files are saved in the Files application, just like on your computer. There are also a lot of new keyboard shortcuts if you use an external keyboard.

My favorite function is that you can press the bookmarks icon and save all open tabs in a folder automatically. Then, you can keep that folder pressed in your bookmarks to open them again.

Text and keyboard editing

There are many new ways to manipulate the text cursor and cut and paste in iPadOS, but my favorite The new text feature is the new keyboard. You can make a pinch movement on the onscreen keyboard, and it will be reduced to a floating keyboard the size of an iPhone.

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The floating keyboard allows you to see more of the screen.

ipados public beta preview worthy of the new name

With a touch of three fingers a convenient text action bar.

A floating keyboard is a feature that Windows and Chrome OS tablets have had for a long time, and I'm glad that Apple has finally realized how useful it is. I want to be able to enter short bits of text without losing half the screen on a keyboard all the time. Now, finally I can. It is easy to reposition the keyboard and it is easy to simply touch what I need with a thumb. I have years of muscle memory doing that on phones, after all.

Even better: you can swipe to write on that little keyboard. It's a genuine "finally" moment for iPads and iPhones. And as a first effort to make a sliding keyboard, it's better than I expected.

As for moving the cursor, I think Apple needs to do a little more work. The idea was to make it simpler: you can move the cursor when you drag it or highlight the text by doing the same. It is the part of "the same" that is the problem; I never know what will happen when I place my finger on the cursor and drag it.

Apple also added a new set of three-finger gestures to cut, copy, paste, undo and redo. They are clumsy and do not work very well, apart from being completely unknown. I like that you can only play with three fingers and get simple buttons for all those actions in a pop-up toolbar.

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Apple may have picked up more criticism about the limitations of the Files application than anyone else who wanted to make the iPad their primary computer. With iPadOS, most of those criticisms are put aside.

Finally, you can get direct access to the USB drives, and with a good touch, there is no silly "eject" button to worry about. It's a bit slow to recognize the units in my tests in the beta version, but it works and will be a big help. Third-party applications can also directly access USB devices, which should make photo editors happy once their applications are updated. If you use SMB file sharing, that also works now.

The Files application also has a new column view, which is a very convenient way to get around your file system. However, it seems to me that I had to do multi-touch gymnastics with my fingers. The simple act of moving a file over a window does not open it like it does on a Mac.

Other things

There are a lot of features that I'm not covering here. The most important among them is that Apple has made all of iPadOS navigable by voice, which is a big problem for accessibility. Even if an application is not encrypted to allow direct voice navigation, users can split the screen into a numbered grid to expand a specific area.

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The sharing sheet has been reorganized with suggestions at the top.

Mouse support is also technically an accessibility option, although people have already begun to think of ways to use the iPad as the centerpiece for a complete desktop configuration thanks to this. Speaking of the configuration of the desktop: there is a new feature called Sidecar that turns your iPad into a second monitor, or input tablet, for your Mac.

The latency in the Apple Pencil has also been further reduced. Apple is also using some predictive machine learning there. There is a new brand palette much cleaner than before, and some applications will allow you to make a full page screen capture that becomes a PDF.

Beyond the new universal dark mode, there are other small interface settings. The shared sheet tries to predict who would like to send things. The volume indicator is smaller (although, hilariously, it moves in the opposite direction to the volume buttons when the iPad is in a horizontal position). There is support for third-party sources, a more natural voice for Siri and updates on many of Apple's applications. Chaim has covered many of those things, as well as changes in privacy policies, in his preview of iOS 13.

Last but not least: Apple is claiming more performance improvements, but as it comes to a beta version, I can not speak. to that still

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That's iPadOS. In WWDC, one of the big questions was why it received a new name, separate from iOS. Much of this is marketing and semantics, especially because iPadOS shares the same basis as iOS. But the truth is that semantics has an impact. Calling this iPadOS indicates that the iPad is meant to be something other than the iPhone.

Calling this iPadOS means that applications designed for it are iPad not just iOS applications. IPad applications can be more powerful than their iPhone counterparts. At a minimum, they will be resizable for split screen and will support multiple windows. Those features should mean that the Mac versions of those applications (which will come through Catalyst) will be equally powerful.

Even if you gather the new window options and the most useful version of Safari, you end up with something that looks significantly different to the iPhone. iPadOS can be just a name, but names are important. After a week of use, I think iPadOS deserves the name.

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