WWDC: iPadOS 16 gets new multitasking and weather app

The iPadOS, which was developed for tablets, has new multitasking in version 16 shown at the WWDC, which is intended to give users a better overview of open apps and windows with the help of the new Stage Manager. An application that has been in demand for years is also new: Apple's own weather app.

Stage Manager manages apps and windows

The Stage Manager is responsible for multitasking between different apps and windows in iPadOS 16. The organization is automated by the operating system and should enable a quick change between the different tasks. For the first time, windows can not only be arranged next to each other as before, but also overlapping.

Stage Manager

Users can create windows of different sizes in a common view and drag additional windows into the view from a side panel. Apps can also be opened from the dock in the Stage Manager and groups of apps can be created. With iPadOS 16, users do not get a classic desktop like under macOS either. Instead, the currently used app moves to the center of the view as a prominently positioned window, while other windows of the same or another app are positioned to the left, sorted by last use.

Full external display support

iPadOS 16 also brings full support for external screens for the first time, which are also managed via the Stage Manager. Up to and including iPadOS 15, it was only possible to mirror the content of an Apple tablet one-to-one on an external monitor, without taking into account the different aspect ratios. The iPad in 4:3 format was therefore transferred unchanged with black bars to 16:9 monitors such as the Apple Studio Display or third-party screens. iPadOS 16 puts an end to this, at least on the iPad Pro and iPad Air with M1 processor and can control external displays with up to 6K resolution and display up to four apps in parallel with the up to four apps on the iPad screen.

Support for external displays

Reference mode for the iPad Pro 12.9"

The reference mode for the screen is only new for the iPad Pro and specifically only for the iPad Pro 12.9" with Liquid Retina XDR display (mini-LED backlighting). This should allow the tablet to be switched to a mode that with regard to the color requirements for the assessment and acceptance of a production, the color grading and the mixing of a film should be suitable.
Reference mode for iPad Pro 12.9" (Image: Apple)

Increase pixel density with Display Zoom

On the other hand, all Apple tablets with an M1 processor can use the new display zoom, which allows the displayed virtual pixel density of the integrated screen to be increased in a similar way to a MacBook (Pro) in order to display more content with the same resolution. This customization is said to be especially useful when using Split View. With Virtual Memory Swap, the main memory available for apps can be expanded to up to 16 GB via the iPad's memory. iPad Pro models with 1 TB and 2 TB of storage come with 16 GB of RAM.

Collaborative work is the focus

On the iPad specifically, iPadOS 16 brings new tools to Apple's Messages app for collaborative work in Files, Keynote, Numbers, Pages, Notes, Reminders, Safari and third-party applications. If users send an invitation for collaborative work in Messages, all participants in the thread have access to the document or project. Changes to a user are communicated to all participants via a notification at the top of the message app. If you are working on a joint project, you can now switch to Messages or FaceTime with everyone involved more quickly.

Collaborative work with Messages

In addition, Messages in iPadOS 16 has all the innovations that Apple introduced with iOS 16. This includes editing and retracting messages. Users can also restore deleted messages and mark conversations as unread. The integration of SharePlay in Messages is also available for iPadOS 16. The innovations for Live Text and Visual Look Up known from iOS 16 are also moving into iPadOS 16.

Shared Tab Groups for Safari

Apple has also adapted Safari for collaborative work by now allowing users to create tab groups that can be shared. Tab groups get their own home page in Safari, which can be customized with a custom background image.

Tab groups in Safari

Freeform as a collaborative whiteboard

An all-new collaborative app from Apple is Freeform, due for release later this year for iPadOS 16. Accordingly, Freeform will not be available directly for the release of iPadOS 16 in the fall. Freeform is essentially a collaborative whiteboard with full Apple Pencil support. On the whiteboard, users can let off steam with notes, post-it notes and graphics on a free layout while communicating with FaceTime or messages.

Freeform for iPadOS 16

Apple's weather app for iPad

Another new app that iPad users have been asking Apple for over a decade (along with the calculator, which remains missing) is the native weather app, previously only available on the iPhone. iPadOS 15 brought a new weather widget, but it only led to a website from The Weather Channel when tapped. Apple is now putting an end to this and is offering its own weather app in a view optimized for the iPad.

Weather app in iPadOS 16

First beta for developers today

iPadOS 16 is now available to developers in a first beta and is scheduled to be made available to the general public as a public beta next month. The final iPadOS 16 is slated for fall and will be available for iPad 5th generation and newer, iPad mini 5th generation and newer, iPad Air 3rd generation and newer, and all versions of the iPad Pro.

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