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Apple’s new iPadOS 16 is a multitasker’s dream

A screenshot from WWDC showing all updates coming in iPad OS 16.

Apple has revealed the updates coming in iPadOS 16 and they’re designed to take iPad’s “versatility even further.”

Multitasking is a huge focus with the new operating system, with updates that will make iPad “an indispensible tool for creative professionals” and “pros,” according to the announcement at Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday.

A few things to know:

  • Apple is focusing on offering “desktop-class apps,” essentially bringing features you already use on Mac to the iPad. “The versatility of iPad makes it great for so many things and a big part of that is apps,” said Craig Federighi, ever so astutely.

  • Apple seems to want to ensure that iPad is a powerful second screen or external display, working in tandem with your Mac. A “reference mode” will “help create accurate color matching so it can be used as a separate display for Mac.” Federighi demoed using the Apple Pencil to make notes in a document on his iPad, then threw the doc back up to his Mac for further edits.

    A Mac sits behind an iPad in a demo for iPad OS 16.

    Apple wants your iPad to be a reliable second screen.
    Credit: Apple

  • A brand new app called Freeform, coming later this year, will boost collaboration. Freeform boards are like virtual blank canvasses that are “flexible and limited only by your imagination.” They host shared docs, photos, videos, PDFs, weblinks, and more for real-time collaboration. Apple is also adding collaboration features in apps like Safari Keynote that will make collaborating with others as simple as sharing a link.

  • The new “Stage Manager” feature announced for Mac OS is also coming to iPad to bring “multitasking on iPad to a while new level.”

  • Other highlights include an updated gaming experience that leverages the iPad’s M1 chip to download in the background, so you can multitask while the download completes. The Game Center is also getting a leaderboard.

    A gaming leaderboard in iPad OS 16. Green background with white text.

    A demo of the Game Center leaderboard.
    Credit: Apple

  • Previously announced features like a shared photo library, tab groups, passkeys, and an update to mail are on their way in iPadOS 16.

  • And, last but not least, iPad is getting a weather app!

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