Apple's yearly developer conference – WWDC – is underway, and Apple has been showing off a wealth of changes arriving with iOS 13 later this year. It's also announced iPadOS, a separate operating system built on iOS but made specifically for iPad tablets.
The launch of iPadOS won't be a huge surprise to anyone who has been watching the evolution of iOS closely, as the software already included several iPad-only features, such as Split View. The new iPadOS release builds on those features and makes the iPad an even more viable alternative to a laptop.
For example, Split View can now show two windows from the same app, and it's easier to switch between apps in Slide Over mode, where one app is overlaid at the side of the screen. File management gets better too: the Files app on iPad has a new column view, and can now read files from USB drives, memory cards, or even directly from digital cameras.
Safari will default to desktop mode on the iPad with iPadOS, giving users of the tablet a desktop-class web experience for the first time. Text editing has been made easier as well, with new gestures for cutting and pasting, and the iPad keyboard will be able to float on top of apps. iPadOS allows widgets to be pinned to the home screen too, to go along with the home screen dock that was already available.
Apple is introducing a whole host of improvements with iOS 13 too, led by a system-wide dark mode. The mobile operating system is also going to bring with it more emoji options, a "Sign in with Apple" option for all developers, tighter controls over sharing a location with apps, and a more natural-sounding Siri.
Of the native apps, Photos gets the biggest upgrade, with a new AI-powered highlights reel of your days, weeks, and months to flick through, as well as a selection of new editing tools to tweak your pictures. Editing effects such as rotation can be applied to videos as well as photos in iOS 13 too.
Reminders gets a major revamp, with easier input options, support for natural language, and the ability to tag people, while Apple Maps includes a new Look Around mode (think Google Street View) and the option to share ETAs on the go. All these improvements will arrive in iPadOS as well as iOS 13.
Apple also had time to announce upcoming upgrades for watchOS, which include new watch faces, support for standalone apps, and direct App Store access. Some minor improvements to tvOS were showcased as well, chief among them support for Xbox One and PS4 controllers ahead of the arrival of the Apple Arcade gaming subscription service.
iOS 13 and iPadOS will arrive in September, with public betas available from July. You'll need an iPhone 6s or later to upgrade to iOS 13, and an iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad 5th generation or iPad mini 4 or later to get iPadOS.
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