Arguably the biggest software surprise of WWDC 2019 was iPad receiving its own platform. Apple announced iPad would be splitting off from iOS and will run on iPadOS going forward.

iPadOS Features

Users can now have multiple windows per open application, in split views. There’s also new link previews when long-pressing. The iPad now supports external disk drives and SD cards natively; just plug in and access from the Files app.

iCloud Drive now supports folder sharing, not just files. The new Files app includes a column view which resembles macOS. Directories from attached storage show up in the Files app. For cameras, there’s a way to launch your favorite third-party image editor — like Lightroom — automatically.

Apple is also bringing “desktop-class” browsing to the iPad, with better compatibility for web-apps like Google Docs, Squarespace, and WordPress. iPad Safari is also gaining new keyboard shortcuts and a download manager.

Apple is adding custom font support to iPadOS. You can download font libraries from the App Store.

There are new three-finger gestures for cut-copy-paste, including a three-finger swipe to undo.

Apple Pencil latency is dropping from 20 milliseconds to 9 milliseconds for even more responsive interactions when using a digital stylus. Markup is integrated system-wide, so you can annotate a screenshot or an entire document. A PencilKit API is also available for third-party apps.

There’s a new compact layout keyboard mode for the iPad, which shrinks down the keyboard to only occupy a fraction of the screen space.

Mouse Support on iPadOS?

One of the rumored iOS 13 features was support for mouse input as an Accessibility option. While Apple didn’t mention it on stage, iPadOS 13 does indeed support mouse input as an AssistiveTouch option.

Mouse input in iPadOS 13 works much like you would expect it to, especially when you consider that it is an AssistiveTouch feature. The mouse cursor resembles other Assistive Touch input options, simulating a finger over the interface.

Mouse input on the iPad works with USB mice connected to the iPad’s Lightning or USB-C port. This includes Apple’s Magic Trackpad, allowing you to navigate through iPadOS without actually touching the display. It is enabled via the Accessibility menu in the iPadOS Settings app.

iPadOS Release Date

iPadOS is currently in beta, but the final version will be released for users this fall.  It will be available for the following iPad models:

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro
  • 11-inch iPad Pro
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air 2

Top Stories about iPadOS

iPadOS Stories June 4

One of the main complaints about Apple keyboards designed for iPad is that they don’t have function keys, so users need to access the Settings app or the Control Center to adjust things like screen brightness. However, this may change soon, as 9to5Mac has found references in iPadOS 13.5.5 beta code that points to new keyboard shortcuts that replace some of the function keys.

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iPadOS Stories May 25

A new app called Hyperdeck has launched today in beta for iPad that comes with a compelling list of features. In addition to support for creating presentations with Markdown, it also features a clean UI for the times you want a more traditional Keynote-like experience. Music to programmers’ ears, Hyperdeck can understand 121 coding languages making it seamless to include and edit code, highlight specific lines, and more.

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iPadOS Stories May 24

9to5Mac is brought to you by Concepts App. Sketch and design your ideas on an infinite canvas with flexible vector ink. Available on iPad and iPhone. Try it for free.

The iPad just got quite a bit better thanks to iPadOS 13.4, which added full support for trackpads. Now, attention has shifted to iPadOS 14, which is expected to be announced next month during Apple’s virtual Worldwide Developers Conference. What new features can we expect in iPadOS 14? I have a few suggestions…

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iPadOS Stories May 13

Facebook has finally added multitasking support to its official iPadOS app in the latest update available. While users can have two apps running simultaneously side by side on iPad since iOS 9, the Facebook app wasn’t compatible with these features until now.

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iPadOS Stories May 6

Update: Federighi is also interviewed on the same topic in a special episode of the AppStories podcast.

Creating the iPadOS cursor without compromising the touch-first nature of the iPad was no easy task, says Apple SVP Craig Federighi in a new interview.

He says that the project leaned significantly on what the company had learned from Apple TV …

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iPadOS Stories April 2

Let’s just cut to the chase: if you already own 2018’s refresh of the iPad Pro, you probably shouldn’t upgrade to the 2020 edition. That’s because this latest iPad Pro is more of an incremental update than its predecessors have traditionally been. In terms of specs, it’s probably the most lukewarm upgrade we’ve had in an iPad Pro since the often-forgotten 9.7-inch model was released in early 2016.

With that in mind, if you want a good idea of what to expect from the 2020 iPad, read our in-depth review of the 2018 model. Most of the hardware aspects still apply, but it’s the software updates that have really pushed the iPad forward over the last few years. The release of iPadOS 13, and now iPadOS 13.4 have transformed Apple’s tablet for the better.

If you held off on the 2018 iPad Pro update, this latest 2020 model should make you happy, as it’s an overall better value thanks to increased RAM and flash storage in the base configuration.

And thanks to the new embedded LiDAR Scanner, which ushers in impressive new AR capabilities, the 2020 iPad Pro also provides us with a sneak preview of what we might expect from Apple’s long-rumored augmented reality headset.

Watch our hands-on video as we discuss the top features and initial impressions of the 2020 iPad Pro. expand full story

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