WWDC21: iPad OS 15 makes iPad even more versatile

Apple announced on Monday, during WWDC21, its annual developer event, the new iPad OS 15. This new version of the iPad operating system brings multitasking improvements, and makes Apple tablets even more attractive to developers.

The iPad OS 15 brings iPad some features that already exist on iPhone since iOS 14, such as widget support, you will have access to a new widget type, larger than those on iPhone, to take advantage of the screen space. Another feature that already existed on iPhone is the App Library, a page that lists all apps installed on the iPad, separated by category.

It is now easier to use “Split View” to work with two apps side by side, as there are now some new and simpler controls. Besides using your fingers to interact with the screen, there are also some new shortcuts you can use with your keyboard.

Speaking of multitasking, the “Notes” app can now be accessed from any part of the operating system, with a gesture in the corner of the screen. Apple calls it the Quick Note feature. The notes created are context-sensitive: for example, if you create a note while you have an open site in Safari, you will see this note appear in the corner of the screen the next time you access the site.

There is also translation support throughout the operating system, including text translation into images you already have in your library thanks to the LiveText feature. The Translator app is able to detect when a person is speaking, and in what language, and start a translation automatically without the user having to press a button.

A “Conversation” mode allows two people to sit at the table, with the iPad between them, and divide the screen, with each half showing the conversation in their native language.

Another interesting feature of the iPad OS 15 is Universal Control, which allows accessories from one device to control another. For example, just put an iPad next to a Mac and, on Mac, drag the mouse cursor towards the iPad screen. When it “slips” to the other device, you can use your Mac keyboard and mouse to interact with your iPad.

However, one of the most interesting changes was in “Swift PlayGrounds”, an app that teaches the user to program in Swift, Apple’s language for developing apps for iOS and iPad OS.

With iPad OS 15, you can now build your apps directly on iPad without relying on a Mac with the installed Xcode. With this, iPads can become small “workstations” for beginner developers. You can also send an app to the App Store that you developed directly from Swift Playgrounds.

A beta version of iPad OS 15, aimed at developers, will be available from today. A pubic beta will be released in July, and the release of the final version of the operating system is planned for “this autumn” (in the northern hemisphere), probably on the month of September like in previous years.

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