A decade later, technology can often start to look a little boring, but the iPad has seen quite a bit of a resurgence in the last year, thanks in large part to the pandemic that has seen a lot of people work from home. But despite the popularity of the iPad and its amazing hardware, the general consensus seems to be that the tablet software just can’t keep up. So all eyes are on Apple’s imminent Worldwide Developers Conference, where the company will likely take over the latest iPadOS update and we’ll see if our wishes are met.
Until then, our hopes and dreams for the iPad remain in a quantum state, like Schrödinger’s cat: at the same time granted and rejected. And while we won’t know which will be until Apple opens that box, that certainly doesn’t stop me from thinking about which iPad updates I’d like to see.
There is no place like the home screen
Last year’s iOS 14 update brought the biggest improvements to the iPhone’s home screen since the device debuted. But the love for the iPad has been surprisingly short. Although the iPhone now lets you add widgets to your home screen and hide less-used programs in its app library, the iPad doesn’t get any of these improvements. Widgets are still tied to a column on the iPad’s first home screen, and the App Library can’t be found anywhere.
Apple’s easy move here is to add the missing Home screen features to the iPad, but part of me doubts the company might have something more in mind. After all, two years ago, Apple ditched iPadOS from iOS with the idea that the iPad deserved its own full operating system. This gives Apple the freedom to treat these two devices differently, according to their needs, although that doesn’t seem to have benefited the iPad much so far as it hasn’t allowed it to cripple the iPhone.
So I hope 2021 will be the year Apple finally succeeds in solving multitasking on the iPad. Not sure exactly how that looks. There are those who advocate bulk implants for macOS windows, but it looks like this could be another inaccuracy caused by the fit rather than the actual fit. Basically, though, the iPad has always been built around the idea of one app on the screen at any time, and that obviously won’t happen in a world where people expect to be able to run multiple apps simultaneously.
The good news is that there are indications that Apple may be heading in this direction, from adding multiple windows for iPad apps in 2019 to the recently touted ability to pair your new 2021 iPad Pro with a Pro Display XDR — which seems like overkill when it’s All you can theoretically do at the moment is run a single app on a really big and expensive screen.
The iPad Pro has been around for more than five years, and while this Pro moniker has had different interpretations over the years (it used to be, for example, the only model that worked with the Smart Keyboard or the Apple Pencil, a feature now even on a iPad). The basic iPad ($329) has been missing one thing all along: Apple’s professional apps.