Here are some of the iPadOS 14 highlights announced during today’s WWDC Keynote.
New Home Screen Widgets
Just like iOS 14, the iPad will be getting more flexibility with using Widgets on Home Screens. We will be able to put them anywhere on the screen along with apps. We are also getting a new App Library that can consolidate all apps into a single screen.
New Application Sidebars
These new sidebars help with screen organization in apps such as Photos, Notes, Calendar and Music. They are designed to keep the focus on a full-screen experience and clean up and organize the interface. This means less tapping into menus on iPad.
Siri and Phone Calls
The new miniaturized Siri interface now takes up just a small area in the bottom left portion of the screen and doesn’t take us away from where we are in the OS or an App. Also, all calls now come in as a small notification that doesn’t disturb whats going on and can be easily accepted or declined.
Search can be started from anywhere, including from within apps. It is now a Universal Search, including in-app. It also still handles web searches.
Apple Pencil and handwriting
Scribble for handwriting recognition is coming to iPadOS. The same text selection and movement gestures now work for digital ink, just like text. We can also write with the Pencil in any text field to fill it in. iPadOS recognizes the difference between typed and written text on the fly. We can also copy and paste text from app to app and convert to text. This is a solid update for power Pencil users.
New Default App selection capability
This is actually a big one, even if Apple didn’t share it in Craig’s speech or roll it out across the OS. We will be able to choose 3rd parts apps for Browsers and Mail, at least on iPadOS. It will be interesting to see how far and how soon Apple will push this forward.
I’ll be honest in saying that I’m a little disappointed in the scope of this update to our iPads. However, I think iPadOS 14 is a more modest update because of the impact of COVID-19 on the world. Even the mighty Apple isn’t immune to a pandemic. Because of that, I will refrain from any whining and enjoy what we do get this year.
The upgrades listed above are solid. However, I do hope that Apple will push further in some of their point updates later the year and early next. They delivered mouse and trackpad support in such an update earlier this year, so its possible that more will come later as things normalize across the world.
I’ll be back later with more details as they become available. I will also get my hands on the beta soon and will report back on how these new features feel in early form. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you in the comments below or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.