With its big WWDC 2022 event now just days away, Apple is being tipped to redesign the multitasking functionalities on iPadOS 16, revamping the tablet experience so it’s more akin to a laptop running macOS or Windows.
This is as per the usually reliable Mark Gurman at Bloomberg (opens in new tab), who says that the refreshed tablet operating system will introduce multitasking aspects that match a Mac, including floating, windowed apps.
The “significant changes” will make it easier for users to see which apps are currently open and quickly switch between apps, Gurman says. There will apparently be the option to resize app windows as well.
Currently, iPadOS allows you to multitask using either a split-screen view called Split View or a rigid floating app view called Slide Over. While these work reasonably well, it seems Apple wants to go even further.
Not only do iPads have more screen real estate compared with iPhones (iPadOS split from iOS in 2019), the latest and most expensive models also run the same M1 chip found inside Macs. These tablets are already more like laptops than phones.
At Monday’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to announce changes coming to new versions of iOS, tvOS, watchOS and macOS, as well as everything we’ve mentioned in iPadOS.
Analysis: what’s a computer?
Apple pushing the iPad as a laptop replacement is nothing new – you might have seen its ‘what’s a computer?’ adverts – but it now looks to be going even further in positioning its tablets as fully fledged computers that can be taken anywhere.
The iPad devices are lightweight, portable, fast, and available with plenty of accessories. Not only that, they come with something that Mac and MacBook computers don’t have: a touchscreen. Add in top-notch internal components, and there’s a lot of potential here.
However, power users have been disappointed with some of the limitations of the iPad in its current form – it’s not quite ready to do everything that a laptop can, a situation that iPadOS 16 may change. Being able to switch between apps and position windows as on macOS will certainly help.
iPads continue to dominate tablet sales worldwide in terms of their market share, and as Apple adds its own silicon and more software updates to these devices, we might once again be asking: what exactly is a computer anyway?