iPadOS for Apple iPad

Apple unveils new OS designed just for the iPad

Apple has launched its first dedicated operating system for the iPad, making it easier to multitask, manage files and use Apple Pencil.

Revealed at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, this week, iPadOS offers a range of new facilities that set it apart from the iPhone, including a customisable home screen and split-view capability.

It also offers improved functionality with Apple Pencil, including a redesigned tool palette, making the iPad more functional as a drawing tool than ever before.

iPadOS for Apple iPad
iPadOS makes it easier to manage files and multitask

"iPad transforms how people work and express their creativity, and with iPadOS, we're taking it even further by delivering exciting capabilities that take advantage of its large canvas and versatility," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering.

"iPadOS delivers exciting features, including a new home screen with widgets, more powerful multitasking and new tools that make using Apple Pencil even more natural."

iPadOS for Apple iPad
The home screen, available in dark mode, includes a widget called Today View

The new home screen still displays apps, as it always has.

But users can now create a custom widget called Today View, which offers quick access to widgets, offering the latest headlines, weather forecasts, calendar updates and other at-a-glance information.

iPadOS for Apple iPad
The files app is redesigned to make managing documents easier

Multitasking is made easier thanks to the split view mode, which allows you to view apps side-by-side, and easily switch between them with a swipe.

The files app has also been redesigned, to make managing documents easier. Users can import and export files from USB drives, SD cards or an SMB file server, and zip and unzip folders. It is also possible to make simple edits to PDFs, for instance, adding mark-up notes.

iPadOS for Apple iPad
Apple Pencil functionality is improved, with a new tool palette

Apple Pencil users can also write notes on webpages and send them out via email – the tool is easily accessed using a swipe-down from the corner of the screen.

Drawing is more natural too, thanks to prediction algorithms and the easy-to-use tool palette, which offers quick access to colour palettes, shapes, erasers and other tools.

The update also includes mouse support for both USB and Bluetooth devices, as an accessibility feature. It's designed to simulate the touch of finger, but paves the way for the device to become more flexible for desktop use.

Adding and editing text is also easier, thanks to a floating keyboard and new gestures to help you easily cut, copy, paste and undo.

iPadOS for Apple iPad
A floating keyboard makes it easy to type within apps

Apple unveiled a series of new designs at the WWDC, which was held on 3 June. Among them was a new Mac Pro, the first redesign of the product in six years.

The new iPhone operating system, iOS 13, was also revealed, with a few features that will also form part of iPadOS. These include dark mode, which is a new colour scheme for the display, and Apple sign in, a new tool for logging into apps more easily.