Apple has announced a new operating system for the iPad, effectively branching the software of its tablet line from that of its other mobile devices and their iOS operating system.
To be clear, the new iPadOS is very much built on the foundation of iOS; but the branding change seems aimed at least in part at further distinguishing Apple’s tablets as their own distinct computer category. To that end, with iPadOS, Apple has rearranged the home screen, enhanced its Split View and Slide Over features allowing users to work with multiple files and apps simultaneously, and established a ‘floating’ virtual keyboard that users can adjust to their liking, among other new features.
Also worth noting: In announcing iPadOS, Apple said that it has helped to make the system “more responsive with faster Face ID unlock,” referring to the 3D facial recognition system launched with 2017’s iPhone X. This is, of course, a software-driven upgrade, but it’s notable for delivering an enhanced authentication system separate from that of the iPhone – and possibly better than the latter, despite the fact that Face ID only came to the iPad toward the end of last year.
That having been said, the Face ID enhancement is also notable for its lack of prominence in Apple’s iPadOS announcement, buried as it is in a minor note about general “Performance improvements”. That goes to show just how quickly 3D facial recognition has become a normal, and perhaps even unexciting, feature of Apple’s devices, even if it is an indispensable one.
iPadOS is now available through the Apple Developer Program, and will see an official launch to all Apple users this coming autumn.