This year’s upgrade emphasizes enhanced multitasking and borrows heavily on new features coming to iOS 16 and macOS 13 (also known as macOS Ventura). This contains Stage Manager, which arranges the windows into piles on the side and centers the window you’re working on. Collaboration is one of the additional productivity tools. You can add people to collaborate in real-time using native and third-party video apps. You and other users can take notes or make drawings on a virtual whiteboard with the new Freeform feature in iPadOS 16.
Since the summer debut of the developer beta, I have been evaluating iPadOS 16. Overall, I believe the upgrade is good because it adds new functions while maintaining the familiar user interface. I believe that features like Apple Pencil hover preview and the aforementioned productivity capabilities will be quite useful to some users. Although I’m not sure whether they will, these won’t harm in making your iPad a desktop substitute.
Review of iPadOS 16 Devices that are compatible and supported
The iPad (5th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), and all iPad Pro devices are all compatible with iPadOS 16, according to Apple. The iPad Air 2nd generation and iPad Mini 4th generation are no longer supported by the new update, according to iPadOS 15 compatibility.
It’s important to remember that not all iPads running iPadOS 16 will be able to use every new function. Only iPads running M1 were compatible with Stage Manager during the testing period. Stage Manager is now available for earlier iPad Pro models.
Review of iPadOS 16 Stage Director
Stage Manager impressed me greatly during the beta period. Let’s get into the specifics of the feature before I provide my current thoughts on it.
Stage Management on iPad may be quickly enabled or disabled from Control Center. Just four programs can be running simultaneously on the screen; the remaining apps are displayed on the left and are organized into folders based on similarity. For instance, Google and Mail go into one folder while Chrome and Safari go into another. This concentrates your attention on what is in front of you and helps clear the clutter from your screen.
Stage Manager demonstrates its possibilities with two monitors, where a total of eight apps can be displayed (four on iPad, four on the other display). I tested the function using a 2022 iPad Air that was wirelessly linked to a 2022 MacBook Pro. After establishing the iPad Air as the secondary screen for the MacBook, switching windows and programs between displays was comparatively simple.
During the early stages of the public beta, I tested the capability for external displays. It was taken away during a beta version, but Apple claims the capability will be added back in a later update to iPadOS 16 this year. Even though it needs a wired connection, I discovered that this functioned just as well as the prior example. If you use the iPad as your main computer, being able to connect to another monitor is essential. Although I enjoyed what Stage Manager had to offer at first, I’ve become less fond of it.
I first appreciated not having to swipe up to check which apps were open by having them all accessible on the left side of the screen. The stage manager gathers all relevant applications into one pile. This may seem clever, but it can be tiresome to navigate through all of the heaps to find the right window to open. This can become quite confusing and chaotic if you have a lot of open apps, which is what Stage Manager was designed to avoid.
Stage Manager appealed to me because I thought it would enable me to work more productively outside while utilizing my MacBook Pro 16-inch as a secondary monitor on an iPad. So even though I might continue to do that until the weather improves, I believe that using the feature on two screens will make the problems I mentioned above worse. Although Apple still needs to make some improvements before Stage Manager is fully useful, I believe it has potential.
Apple Pencil hover preview in iPadOS 16
The iPad Pro M2 devices running iPadOS 16 are the only ones with the Apple Pencil hover preview capability. The Apple Pencil 2 is the only compatible device. Even with all of those limitations, this is one of Apple’s premium tablet’s more impressive capabilities, especially for creatives.
The iPad Pro allows you to preview your mark before you make it and can detect the Apple Pencil up to 12 mm above the display. This ought to increase the artists’ self-assurance as they create.
Certain apps from third parties will also support this capability. For instance, in ProCreate, you may view the color combinations before applying the pencil tip. As you hover the pencil over a photo in Pixelmator Pro, you can see how the filter will look after applying it.
Although I like the Apple Pencil, I don’t use the iPad for writing very much. Although stylus writing on tablets has advanced significantly, it still doesn’t seem as natural as writing on paper. Having said that, I believe that the Apple Pencil hover is a terrific tool that will be embraced by artists.
Review of iPadOS 16: Improvements to messages
On iPadOS 16, a feature that users have long wished for will be available: the ability to modify and undo texts. Throughout my testing, I discovered that the function was simple and quick. Although I don’t send texts on the iPad as frequently as I do on my iPhone 13 Pro, the feature is still useful to have. Overall, message editing and undoing function as promised.
In case you want to return to a message later, you may also mark it as unread. As I occasionally forget to return to a topic if I’m too busy or otherwise preoccupied, this function is quite useful.
Review of iPad OS 16: Cooperation
Another significant element of both iPadOS 16 and macOS 13 is collaboration. You may share documents, photographs, and videos with groups on both first-party and third-party apps, as well as add and chat with them. Members of the group can make changes and annotations to those files.
Who enters a session and who updates papers should be visible to you. Throughout my testing, I was able to share and edit documents, but I was unable to see who was making changes. Perhaps it was due to the fact that Computing Editor Alex Wawro and I were the only participants in the session. It could also be a bug. It’s difficult to say. However, the feature functions, albeit inadequately at the moment.
Weather app review on iPadOS 16
As absurd as it may sound, the iPad is only now getting a weather app similar to that on iOS. In actuality, it is essentially the iOS app on a larger screen. That’s okay because it has the same functionality, including data on the hourly and weekly weather.
The iPadOS weather app has an animated background that reflects the current weather, just like the iOS version. For instance, on a wet day, you’ll see raindrops crawling down the screen, and on a sunny day, you’ll see a beautiful blue sky.
Review of iPadOS 16’s AI features
The capability to add live text to a generated video is one feature that I truly like. Simply open the camera app, position the iPad at text from a book or a video (for example), then press the shutter button in the top-right corner of the screen to take a picture.
After that, you can highlight the text and copy, paste, and select all as you normally would on a word processor. Also, it is possible to translate the text and seek up definitions.
I’ve made the most of this incredibly valuable tool. I can take a picture and copy the text on my iPad rather than painstakingly writing it down from a physical source or film. It’s really fantastic.
Review of iPadOS 16 Verdict
Although for business and daily use I’d prefer one of the best laptops, I enjoy that iPadOS 16 is giving iPads a more computer-like experience. Even though Stage Manager isn’t as good as I once thought, it’s still a positive step. I value collaborative tools like FreeForm and Collaboration even if I probably won’t utilize them during my typical workday for what they offer.
It seemed excessive to put an Apple M1 chip inside iPads at first. Now that Stage Manager and Reference mode in iPadOS 16 will make use of the additional power offered by M1, this choice makes more sense. Even though I’m not very excited by the new features, I’m interested in what can be possible with future iPads. Even if I’m not artistic, the iPad Pro’s M2-powered Apple Pencil hover preview is genuinely fantastic.
Even though iPadOS 16 is just an incremental update for most users, I think it’s a good improvement all around. Even while I’m still unsure if the new productivity capabilities will convince me to give up my laptop in favor of an iPad (they won’t), I can at least commend Apple for making an effort to make iPads feel more computer-like. That raises the possibility of iPads losing their identity, but that is a topic for another day.