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How the beta version of iPadOs works

La schermata di apertura di iPadOS beta

released the first public preliminary version of Apple's new operating system for its tablets. We're trying it: here's how it goes

The opening screen of iPadOS betaThe opening screen of iPadOS beta

the most interesting and awaited novelty of the Wwdc 2019, the developer conference in the Apple world where the Cupertino company presented its new software technologies. The new iPadOs the company's response to those who have been saying for a long time (including us) that the company's tablets are increasingly powerful from a hardware point of view but are limited by iOs, the operating system now used only for iPhones (and iPod touch).

Instead, whether it's the iPad Pro or an everyday iPad – normal, Air or mini -, the new operating system that brings together a series of news (including the night mode already seen on macOs) and functions dedicated to tablet, thought to make a leap forward in the experience of use and flexibility. Including use with the mouse, although an easy access mode for those with disabilities, not a feature designed for productivity.

First impact

The simple update procedure: you go to the Apple website reserved for the beta (but only after making backups and being sure you can do without the iPad for a while in case things don't go the way you hoped: still a beta even if public), you connect with your own Apple Id, download the certificate (which is installed in the system Settings with a reboot) and then download the software update from Generali.

Column view for Files in the beta of iPadOSColumn view for Files in the beta of iPadOS

The experience is even simpler and more linear than that of macOs Catalina and it must be said that it also gives a sense of stability and greater functionality. It works as if we had done a simple update of the operating system: but do not interrupt it and keep it connected to the power supply. After finishing the download and installation the system asks permission to send anonymized information to Apple in case of unexpected crashes (after all the purpose of a public beta: improve the final product).

Home screen

Completely reorganized the home screen, which now allows to have widgets visible on the left and apps a little smaller and reorganized to the right. Singular but can't get back to a full screen (will it be a beta or experimenter problem?).

New apps appear: Find, which replaces Find My iPhone and Find My Friends, and does so in a simple and functional way. Then a new version of Promemoria arrives (with the name in English, Reminders) parallel to the enhanced one for macOS Catalina. Nothing new substantially for Photos and Podcasts, while adding AppleTv and changing some things inside the App Store: the Arcade section is added (not yet active while the app updates disappearinside the account page that is activated by clicking on the user icon at the top right.

The new multitasking

The main new features are in app management, which can now combine two windows and allow for example to write a document using a Note while reading the notes taken previously on another Note. To be active the function for developers must make minor changes to the code of their apps and therefore for the moment there are no news of substance.

Apple allows you to create a very large number of these "pairs" of apps, which can be easily recalled as separate spaces, while a third app can be invoked and made to floatin the mode that Apple calls Slide Over over pairs (or a single full screen app) for faster tasks. here you can also scroll the list of apps in Slide Over, select another or close it.

We went as far as trying to use the iPad Pro 11 as if it were a Mac and less like an iPad. Many corners still remain to be smoothed but in the meantime the stability of the beta really remarkable, while the activities that can be done are always more. The first impression we are now halfway between the old iPad with iOS and a Mac with Apple's personal computer operating system.

The function Sidecar (to use iPad as a second display on a Mac with Catalina) not yet active. Instead they can be used profitably new gestures to select, cut, copy and paste the text with three fingers, plus a new way to delete the last operation always using three fingers. We are not big fans of the Swipe keyboards, like the one introduced by Apple along the lines of what Android has been doing for years, but we found that both the physical keyboard and the Apple Pencil are faster and more stable.

Under the hood come other new features

There are custom fonts that can be managed through app stores and installed in all the apps. While the great novelty, revolutionary, that of the new File, the app for to seedocuments, which introduces three important news.

The first see the documents of a stick or external hard drive. We tested with a 1 TB self-powered SSD, with an Sd Card, which did not activate Photos, and worked perfectly, while an external 8 TB mechanical disk powered with native Usb-C did not work. This is one of the steps forward most important if not the most important of macOs.

IPadOS file allows to see also external disksIPadOS file allows to see also external disks

Second novelty the possibility of creating local folders on iPad with heterogeneous files: in practice use the onboard memory as if it were a normalhard disk. File turns out to be pretty good at that too.

Third novelty greater flexibility in viewing documents: now a third is added to the list and icons column view (as on the Mac), which allows you to see a preview of the documents and their metadata.

Other small changes

A note for Photos, the app that as for macOs changes its way to show the images it collects, from the photos taken with smartphones to those uploaded from other sources up to the screens (for example, for this article). Now Apple uses an artificial intelligence system to analyze the photos in the library and show a summary: we tried to look at the pictures taken a year ago (we like black and white, as you can see) and the intelligent synthesis work done by Foto looks good. It will take some time before it processes all 50 thousand images present in the 200 Giga of our iCloud, but we expect that finally our large-sized bookstore can become again visibleand navigable.

Photo of iPadOS makes the synthesis of the photos with the AIPhoto of iPadOS makes the synthesis of the photos with the AI

It also comes night mode which, if it can be interesting for iOs, becomes very good for iPadOs because it allows you to work in different contexts in a more restful way. Apple's pen seems to have become even faster – as the company also says – while a special note goes to Mail, the mail app, which moved all the icons again to mark mails, reply, write new ones and slightly changed the graphics, but above all now seems to have become really very very fast.

In conclusion

If there is one thing we can say right away about iPadOs that the public beta is very stable and apparently usable even for more complex purposes than a simple desire to know the news. We still do not trust ourselves in making it a unique work tool (always better to have a backup!) but in these days we will try even more and with a constructive spirit.

The most valuable things now are the new configurations of the apps and the feeling of overall stability. Now we will use multitasking to understand if we can create workflows comparable to those of a traditional computer.


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