Collaboration features are also heavily emphasized.
Apple has you in mind this year if you’re an iPad owner who’s always desired your tablet could do more. Apple has announced iPadOS 16, the company’s annual upgrade to its iPad software, at WWDC. Many of the new iOS 16 features will be available here as well, including major changes to Mail, Safari, Messages, and other apps. Oh, and Apple is finally adding the Weather app to iPadOS, 12 years after the first iPad was introduced.
Through a multitasking interface dubbed Stage Manager, which Apple is also releasing to the Mac this year, iPadOS will allow you to have overlapping windows for the first time. However, some of these functions will be limited to iPads equipped with the M1 CPU. You can resize windows in stage management, so you can easily tuck additional apps behind the primary window. On the left side of the screen, there’s also a section that shows all of your most recent apps. Windows automatically resize and modify their content view dependent on how big you make them, according to the demo we witnessed during the keynote.
Some apps, such as chat apps, may update in the background as well, so if new messages arrive while the main app isn’t visible, you’ll still be able to see them depending on how you’ve arranged your windows.
It’s worth noting, though, that Stage Manager is only available if you have an iPad with an M1 processor. You’re out of luck if you don’t have the iPad Air, which was released last fall, or the 11- or 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which was released in the spring of 2021.
For the first time, the iPad also supports external monitors. Rather than simply mirroring your iPad display, it expands your iPad experience to the second screen in its entirety. On each screen, you can have up to four different apps open at the same time, thus an extra monitor would allow you to have windows for eight different apps active at the same time. This is a significant upgrade for iPadOS multitasking, which has been sought by users for years.
Collaboration is a huge new feature; when you share a document from an app like Pages, you can immediately turn it into something that everyone can work on at the same time. Sharing used to only send a copy of a document, but now you can send a document through the Messages app and everyone who receives it may begin modifying it. You can even start a FaceTime call right from the document. Naturally, this will work first with Apple apps, but Apple is also offering a cooperation API for third-party developers. Sharing a tab group from Safari, which will also function in Notes, is another example of Collaboration that Apple demonstrated.
Freeform is another collaboration-related tool that Apple recently revealed. When you join a board via a FaceTime group conversation, it creates a shared notes page into which you can enter, draw, or paste other information. This feature will also be available on iOS and macOS.
SharePlay features will be added to Game Center as well, although they won’t be available until later this year. You’ll be able to play multi-player games while on a FaceTime call, for example, when they’re released.
This comes a year after iPadOS 15 introduced some significant new multitasking features that made it much easier to switch between apps in the iPad’s standard split-view arrangement. A controversial Safari redesign that was subsequently pulled back, big upgrades to the Home Screen experience with a new set of widgets, and a slew of other smaller changes were also included in that release.