Today, Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2022) with a keynote address. During the address, the company’s executives unveiled its upcoming iPadOS 16 operating system for the iPad.
Apple says iPadOS 16 “makes the iPad experience even more versatile.” iPadOS 16’s “Stage Manager” brings a new way to multitask with multiple overlapping windows and full external display support. Meanwhile, Collaboration brings new ways to start working with other users in apps across the system using Messages, and the new Freeform app provides a flexible canvas to brainstorm together.
New features in Messages make it easy to start collaborating and managing shared content across Files, Keynote, Numbers, Pages, Notes, Reminders, and Safari, as well as third-party apps. Users can send an invitation to collaborate via Messages, and everyone on the thread will be automatically added to the document, spreadsheet, or project. When changes are made to a shared file, everyone can see updates right at the top of the Messages thread. Collaborative projects allow users to jump into the associated Messages conversation or they can tap to start a FaceTime call with their collaborators.
Users can now edit or recall recently sent messages, recover recently deleted messages, and mark conversations as unread so they can come back to them later. They can also begin a SharePlay session via Messages, allowing them to share activities, like movies, TV shows, workouts, or games.
Freeform, which will come to iPadOS 16 later this year, is a new collaboration app with a flexible canvas, that gives users the ability to see, share, and collaborate all in one place without worrying about layouts and page sizes. The feature offers full support for Apple Pencil. Users can view others’ contributions as they add content or make edits, all while enjoying a real-time collaboration space.
Mail: New Smart Tools
Users can schedule emails ahead of time and are even provided an option to cancel delivery of a message before it reaches a recipient’s inbox. Mail also warns users if they forget to include an important part of their message, including attachments. Users also have the option to resurface a message at any date and time with Remind Later, and Follow Up suggestions automatically remind users to follow up on an email if they have not received a response.
Mail also includes a big overhaul to search, which delivers more relevant, accurate, and complete results.
iCloud Shared Photo Library
iCloud Shared Photo Library allows families to share photos with a separate iCloud library that up to six users can collaborate on, contribute to, and enjoy. Users can choose to share existing photos from their personal libraries or share based on a start date or people in the photos. A user can also choose to send photos to the Shared Library automatically using a new toggle in the Camera app.
Users will also receive suggestions to share a photo that includes participants in the Shared Photo Library. Every user in the Shared Photo Library has access to add, delete, edit, or favorite the shared photos or videos, which will appear in each user’s Memories and Featured Photos.
Safari adds Shared Tab Groups, which allows users to collaborate on a set of tabs with friends and see updates instantly while they work together, share tabs and bookmarks, and start a conversation right from Safari. Tab Groups get dedicated start pages that can be customized with a background image, bookmarks, and unique sections everyone can see and edit.
Safari also brings more security with passkeys, which are kept on the iPad and are specific to the sites users create them for. Passkeys are unique digital keys that stay on the device and are never stored on a web server, preventing hackers from leaking them or tricking users into sharing them. Users can sign in to websites or apps on Apple and non-Apple devices with their saved passkey by scanning the QR code with their iPad and using Face ID or Touch ID to authenticate.
The Weather app comes to iPad, featuring attractive animations. Users can view the most important weather information, or explore maps to check precipitation, air quality, and temperature. Users can also be notified when a severe weather alert is issued in their area, or check the air quality using a color-coded scale.
Live Text and Visual Look Up
Live Text uses on-device intelligence to recognize text in images across iOS, and it is now expanding to include video. Meanwhile, Visual Look Up takes photos further by introducing a new feature that allows users to tap and hold on the subject of an image to lift it from the background and place it in apps like Messages. Visual Look Up also expands to recognize birds, insects, and statues.
Multitasking with Stage Manager and Full External Display Support
Stage Manager is an entirely new multitasking experience that automatically organizes apps and windows, making it quick and easy to switch between tasks. For the first time on iPad, users can create overlapping windows of different sizes in a single view, drag and drop windows from the side, or open apps from the Dock to create groups of apps for faster, more flexible multitasking.
Stage Manager also unlocks full external display support with resolutions of up to 6K on iPad Pro and iPad Air with the M1 chip. Users can arrange the ideal workspace, and work with up to four apps on iPad and four apps on the external display.
Additional iPadOS 16 Features
- Dictation offers a new on-device experience that allows users to easily move between voice, touch, and Scribble with Apple Pencil. Users can type with the keyboard or write with Scribble, tap in the text field, move the cursor, and insert QuickType suggestions, all without needing to stop Dictation. Dictation also features automatic punctuation and emoji dictation.3
- Siri adds the ability to automatically run shortcuts from apps, with no setup required. Users can now insert emoji when sending messages with Siri, and can skip the confirmation step when sending messages by enabling the feature in Settings. Siri can now process more types of requests offline without an internet connection, and users can now hang up a call completely hands-free by simply saying “Hey Siri, hang up.”4
- The Home app gets an all-new design that makes it easier to navigate, organize, view, and control smart home accessories at a glance, as well as Matter support,5 a new smart home connectivity standard that allows compatible accessories to work together seamlessly across different platforms, and provides more choice and interoperability, all while maintaining the highest level of security.
- Desktop-class apps enable new capabilities optimized for the iPad display, from system elements and interactions to new features available on Mac, including a consistent undo and redo experience across the system, a redesigned find-and-replace experience, customizable toolbars, the ability to change file extensions and view folder size in Files, and more.
- Apple News introduces My Sports, allowing users to follow their favorite teams, leagues, and athletes, and see curated and personalized stories from hundreds of the best local, national, and international sports publications, all in one app.6
- Notes allows users to create neater handwritten notes with the ability to automatically straighten the handwriting, use their iCloud password to lock personal notes, add screenshots in Quick Note, and take organization even further with powerful Smart Folders and filtering capabilities.
- Handoff in FaceTime allows users to start a FaceTime call on one of their Apple devices and seamlessly hand it off to another Apple device nearby. When switching to a different device, the connected Bluetooth headset transitions simultaneously so users don’t miss any of the conversation.
- New accessibility tools include Live Captions in FaceTime;7 a new Magnifier mode that delivers richer descriptions of the surroundings;8 Hover Text, which helps users to easily read input fields, menu items, button labels, and other text on iPad; support for over 20 additional languages in VoiceOver and Spoken Content; and more.
- Later this year, Game Center will introduce a redesigned dashboard that allows a player to see which games friends are playing, as well as their achievements and high scores across games, in one place, and with SharePlay integration, a player will be able to start playing multiplayer games with friends automatically on a FaceTime call.
The developer preview of iPadOS 16 is available to Apple Developer Program members starting today, and a public beta will be available to iPadOS users next month. The public release of iPadOS 16 will take place this fall, for iPad (5th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), and all iPad Pro models.