Tuesday, November 29, 2022
iPadOpinionsRumors

Will iPadOS 16 finally make the iPad Pro a viable laptop alternative?

Apple wants to make the iPad behave more like a laptop than a smartphone with changes in iPadOS 16, reports Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman. We’ll see if his report is on target next week when the tech giant’s Worldwide Developer Conference gets underway.

Calling iPadOS 16’s interface “one of the biggest upgrades announced at the conference,” Gurman writes that the OS update “… will have a redesigned multitasking interface that makes it easier to see what apps are open and switch between tasks” and “ will let users resize app windows and offer new ways for users to handle multiple apps at once.”

Along the same lines, a March 16 tweet by leaker Majin Bu — as noted by AppleInsider — claims that iPadOS apps may become Quick Note-like floating windows, instead of always opening full screen if a keyboard and trackpad are connected.

The tweet: Apple is developing a smart system for iPadOS. Apps will continue to open full screen but automatically shrink when connected to keyboard and trackpad. Internally it is called Apple Mixer.  We don’t know if it will be included in iPadOS 16 or not, It should be M1 iPad exclusive.

About the iPad’s future

As I’ve said before, Apple continues to insist that, when it comes to the iPad, “your next computer is not a computer.” However, for many of us, the iPad, even the iPad Pro, isn’t a true laptop replacement or alternative.

I truly wish it was. I use my 12.9-inch iPad Pro to watch videos, check email, and surf the web. I use it as a drawing tablet, gaming device, ebook reader, Bible, and more. However, when I go on the road, I can’t use it as a laptop replacement for running Apple World Today.

It’s not the hardware. An iPad running an Apple-designed M1 processor has plenty of oomph. It’s not the screen size, though I would buy a 15-inch iPad IF I could use it as a laptop. It’s the operating system; iPadOS doesn’t offer the multitasking features and flexibility of macOS.

I’d be delighted to see an iPad with a touch-capable version of macOS. However, that probably ain’t gonna happen. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman probably has the next best idea that he presented in his April 18 Power On newsletter: a “pro” mode for iPadOS that would allow the tablet’s software to catch up with the power of its hardware. 

“The current iPad Pro hardware remains well ahead of its operating system, iPadOS,” he writes. “The device now has an M1 chip, the same processor that powers a 13-inch MacBook Pro or 24-inch iMac. It’s way more powerful than needed to run iPadOS, which, in my mind, is still basically a blown-up and tweaked version of the iPhone’s iOS.”

Here’s what Gurman suggests as three iPad Pro modes:

  • A standard, touch-first mode with the normal home screen that is part of iPadOS today.
  • A new option that turns on when you connect an Apple Pencil, optimizing icons, controls and user interface elements for that accessory.
  • And, most importantly, a new “pro” mode that kicks in when the iPad is connected to a keyboard and trackpad, such as Apple’s own Magic Keyboard, or an external display.

As for multitasking improvements, Parker Ortolani has tweeted a great concept (pictured) for iPadOS 16 “taking multitasking to a new whole new level.”

In my ideal world, I’d have an iMac that I used for the bulk of my day-to-day work and an iPad Pro for after-work activities AND as my go-to laptop when I’m away from the home office. So I’d love to see Apple truly make the iPad (at least the Pro) a true laptop replacement/alternative as it claims it is. Otherwise, quit touting it as such and let the tablet just be a tablet. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I’d be delighted to see an iPad with a touch-capable version of macOS. However, that probably ain’t gonna happen. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman probably has the next best idea that he presented in his April 18 Power On newsletter: a “pro” mode for iPadOS that would allow the tablet’s software to catch up with the power of its hardware. 

About WWDC

Apple will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in an online format (as it has since the global COVID pandemic) from June 6 through 10, free for all developers to attend. 

WWDC22 will, of course, showcase the latest innovations in iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS, while giving developers access to Apple engineers and technologies to learn how to create apps and interactive experiences.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.