Apple shocked audiences and critics around the world by today announcing plans to fork iOS and the iOS experience on iPad, introducing iPadOS as a new standalone operating system for iPads, designed to introduce new functionality.
Previewing the new OS to developers, Apple said that the powerful operating system was designed to “recognize the distinctive experience of iPad” and “build on the same foundation as iOS, adding powerful new capabilities and intuitive features specific to the large display and versatility of iPad”.
It had previously been reported that Apple would add new functionality to iPad under iOS, and that new iPad-specific updates would be released in a separate update file so that iOS users did not have to carry around additional bloatware.
However, separating iOS and iPadOS now offers Apple the chance to further refine the iPad experience, introducing apps in multiple windows, a redesigned Home screen, Split View, new Apple Pencil controls, a new Files app, and Safari refinements, designed to offer desktop-class browsing on iPad for the first time.
Also new is Dark Mode, offering a “dramatic dark color scheme that looks great across the system and is easier on the eyes in low-light environments,” as well as Custom Fonts, a floating keyboard, Maps refinements, the new Sign In With Apple functionality, and the ability to plug in USB and external hard drives.
iPadOS is available to Apple Developer Program members today and will be released later in the year to users. Users will need an iPad Air 2 or later, an iPad Pro, an iPad 5th generation or later, or an iPad mini 4 or later to download it.
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