iPadOS – Often postponed, but not yet taken off

It seemed promising: When Apple divided the development of the iPhone and iPad operating systems into iOS and iPadOS three years ago, in 2019, the iPad disciples sensed Pro air. Apple advertised back in 2017 in commercials with a childwhich was working on his iPad Pro and when asked by a neighbor what it was doing on his computer, replies: What is a computer?

So while the iPad Pro’s hardware has been getting closer to Apple’s claim of being able to replace a full-fledged computer for years, the software hasn’t lived up to expectations. Real multitasking, the right amount of window freedom and multi-user operation remained castles in the air. All features that, according to current understanding, make a real computer. From the critics’ point of view, this gave Apple’s computer commercial a different interpretation: Had Apple perhaps forgotten what a computer is?

Malte Kirchner has been an editor at heise online since 2022. In addition to the technology itself, he is concerned with the question of how it is changing society. He pays special attention to news from Apple. He also does development and podcasting.

Not even iPad versions of Apple’s own professional software – Logic Pro for audio productions and Final Cut Pro for video – begrudge Cupertino iPad users so far. Tim Cook, who is also a self-confessed iPad Pro user, even got the M1 chip himself in the introductory film from the Mac development lab to plant in the iPad Pro. On the way there, however, he didn’t turn into Craig Federighi’s software department.

The split from iOS seemed like a liberation. Instead of “We also have something for the iPad” was the hope that the decoupling of iOS would make it possible to go it alone, which would fully benefit the iPad.

In 2022, the balance sheet will be mixed. Yes, there are rays of hope: The Stage Manager and its much more flexible window management are a big step in the right direction. Connecting an external monitor to the iPad is now more fun, because the idiosyncratic display with black side bars will finally be dropped with iPadOS 16 in autumn. But all of that was actually long overdue and the M1, which also does its work in the Mac, is completely underchallenged with the maximum of two apps at the same time on the iPad.

Despite everything, Apple hasn’t managed to counteract the feeling that the iPad is given secondary treatment overall in terms of software. Instead, iPad users pay for the few accents on the iPad, such as the Sidecar second monitor function, with a much longer wait for new iOS functions that they no longer get automatically.

This year, for example, this includes the new lock screen with widgets. Where else would that have been bliss if not on the giant screen of the iPad. Instead, iPad users look another year into the tube, just get a new font for the time display, before Apple will probably celebrate the introduction in 2023 as a big gain.

It was the same with the app media library and the widgets on the home screen – both were already available for the iPhone with iOS 14. iPad users had to wait until iPadOS 15. And this despite the fact that both features suit the iPad much better than the small screen of the iPhone.

It has now become known that Apple is said to have pushed back the release of iPadOS 16 by a month. While the new macOS has always been a long time coming, iPad users are now moving into the second release series.

Of course, thinking positively could also reflect the closer connection between iPad and Mac. Some are hoping that the Stage Manager will be opened further down following criticism of it requiring an M1 iPad. Apple’s argument that the new function can only be implemented with newer devices quickly became shaky.

I rather have the impression that this is wishful thinking and iPad users still tend to simply not want to believe that the iPad simply isn’t up there with Apple when it comes to software. How I would like to find out in October that I was wrong.

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