Today, finally, iPadOS sees its general release. I’ve of course been working my way through the extensive MacStories review (70k words), which if you like pushing the limits of iOS, is an indispensable & enjoyable read.
I’ve been using it all summer on my secondary iPad (Pro 10.5”), but it has not had the performance & support necessary to run on my primary device. You can bet I’ll install the public release on both devices in the first five minutes, though.
To me, it feels very much like the release of iOS 11, where monumental upgrades changed the nature of what an iPad could do. In iOS 11, the iPad bloomed, gaining the Files app, drag and drop, the Dock, & the current multitasking system, among many other changes. (For a dark period prior, we were stuck using iOS 9 & 10 on the iPad—the only significantly differentiating feature from the iPhone operating system being Split View, was invoked through that godawful app picker.) The iOS 11 system is remarkably easy to understand, fast to use, & fluid in operation. Nonetheless, spending hundreds/thousands of hours using it since its launch, flaws have revealed themselves. Using one app in multiple contexts is not possible, & the simplicity imposes hard limits on advanced use.
With iPadOS, the iPad blooms so much further. Multi-window, the drastic upgrades to the Files app, & desktop-class browsing in Safari are all critical, platform-changing improvements, advancing the capabilities of iPad significantly. Carrying around a 12.9” iPad Pro with USB-C & iPadOS, I no longer have even occasional need for a Mac or hacky workarounds for simple file operations involving web downloads, archiving, and external drives. It just works, one could say.
Meanwhile, coming in spades alongside the headline features, parallel to those of iOS 11, dozens of small improvements enhance the iPad experience corner-to-corner. iOS 11 brought Instant Notes (tap Apple Pencil to the lock screen for a new note), & now we have Full-Page Screenshots, which I’ve already made extensive use of this summer for quick web design feedback. iPadOS also brings a suite of new developer tools, like PencilKit, which I’m incredibly excited to see apps make use of.
I would be remiss to not mention the massive upgrades to the Shortcuts app, from its new editor & UI to the streamlining of Siri Shortcuts to the app being pre-installed by default. With millions of users joining the system, & a dramatically simpler experience for creating shortcuts, I think many more users will discover the wonders of personal automation.
If Apple succeeds, the introduction of iPadOS today will be remembered as a critical turning point in the development of the next-generation personal computer. It’s wildly cool to watch—& join in on—the development of this new computer in public. The device the world clamored for in 2010 has blossomed into a computer for millions, simplifying & modernizing the ideas of traditional computers for new generations using new form factors of computer. I can’t wait to continue pushing the new limits.