iPadOS is in a weird place the last couple of years. The Magic Keyboard and the M1 added a lot of hardware muscle to the platform, but it still feels like iOS on the iPad does not really know what wants to be. An independent platform like the Mac or a locked down experience like the iPhone? I get the feeling that even today that debate rages inside Apple. I’m definitely in the iPad power user category, but I also appreciate the platform being approachable and safe…that’s why I regularly recommend it to friends and family as their “home computer” and let work provide a more general purpose computer like a Windows 11 PC or a Macintosh. From a power-user’s perspective I want them to add more power, but without spoiling the simple nature of the iPad. I almost wish there was a switch that I can flick for an iPad Pro mode and the other features that I’m about to write about get hidden away for my mother or siblings. Here are a few things that I hope that show up in iPadOS 16 at WWDC 2022.
1. Xcode for iPad: Apple announced that you can learn, write, and publish iOS apps from the iPad last year, but I’m not sure really who had done that. Swift Playgrounds is still too limited for a developer. I think maybe Apple lean on the Xcode in the cloud for collaboration, testing, and more. I think a full Xcode for the 13” iPad Pro or even a 15” iPad Studio would make a lot of people very happy.
2. Aperture, Final Cut, and Logic for iPad Pro + Studio: Along with Xcode, I wish would make portable version of their professional video, audio, and photo editing software. I think that professionals would appreciate being able to capture, edit, and share their projects from the iPad form factor, especially with Apple Pencil support. The iPad Pro is much smaller than even a MacBook Air and there are so many situations that being able to use the iPad in the field as a controller, importer, editor, etc would be great. The best camera is the camera you have with you and people are already using the iPhone 13 Pro in cinema. It would be cool to see what people could make on an iPad Pro with these professional apps on the go.
3. GarageBand for Podcasters: I podcast for fun and it really annoys me that I cannot use GarageBand on the iPad for creating podcasts. Its *technically* possible, but its just a terrible experience. I end using the Anchor app, but that itself feels super limited. I wish GarageBand would get some podcasting love, even having a mode that uses SharePlay to record episodes with friends. They could use the new FaceTime links and HTML5 support to allow non-Apple device users to join a podcast. I think that would be fun.
4. Voice Recorder Transcriptions: Apple showed off before WWDC that iOS will be getting a system-wide transcription feature and I hope that it shows up in the voice recording app. It would be great to see your recordings transcribed as text, especially if you could select said transcript and edit/delete some of it and have it trim the recording automatically.
5. Reminders on Calendar: One feature that I really like about Fantastical is being able to see reminders on my calendar app. I live and die by reminders and it helps me organize my day into tasks. I don’t think I would give up Fantastical because it has many more features that I use with it, but I think simply having reminders on the Calendar app would be a nice addition for most people.
6. Triple App snapping: I think that for larger iPads, particularly the 13”iPad Pro and a future 15” iPad Studio, being able to have 3x apps at one time on the screen would be useful to a great many people. I’m not sure if I want floating apps on iPadOS, but I think it would help to make you feel like you can really multitask on the iPad Pro and really get the most out of the M1 chipsets.
7. External Monitor Support: I do get people who ask me for this, particularly those people who are information workers and want to use the iPad as their primary home computer. It would be great to have proper external monitor support, whether its just to have a big screen for the iPad to work off of (Imagine hooking an iPad Mini up to a 24” or 27” screen) or having more screen real estate for you to spread your work out with. Proper external screen support would probably help me getting over my aversion to pulling the trigger and making the iPad Pro my primary computing device at home.
8. Finder for iPad: Files was a good start, but its still kinda a phone app scaled up to a desktop interface. It seems like large file transfers are still too buggy and its missing basic stuff like accurate file transfer indicators. Also, I think Apple really needs a more robust Preview experience and editor like they have Preview on the Mac with the ability to edit and manipulate PDFs instead of having to throw it out to a 3rd party app. Also, I would like to be able to easily create an icon to files on my iPad Home Screen. We have widgets already. I think its time to let me put a folder on my dock or files on my grid.
9. Apple News+: Simple, but I would like to have audio stores on the iPad so I can listen to stories while I work from home. Also, I would like a video hub as well for video news or interesting stories like we do for audio stories.
10. Apple Photos: AI Based editing recommendations would be great, Google has been adding some cool photos to Google Photos lately that recommend better edits and stuff like post-processing to remove color in the background or adding a portrait mode effect. Also, why shared iCloud photo libraries still not a thing for couples or families? My friends complain about this constantly and I really wish Apple would improve their shared library experience that maintained privacy while allowing families to easily share select photos. Google lets you even automatically share photos based off faces and their digital photo frame and widget already do a great job at pulling out your favorite people while keeping out photos of random objects like receipts…Apple should really do the same thing with Apple Photos. Maybe have an approval switch on it, but I think for people with children or pets that this would be really useful. I know that my siblings and my parents would certainly use that if it were a feature.
11. Interactive Widgets: Widgets are great and I’m happy that Apple has introduced them to the iPad finally, but I do hope that Apple finally makes them interactive like they have been on Android for years now. I think the iPad is such a big canvas that it would be a great to be able to build custom Home Screens as dashboards for your life at home, work, etc.
12. Custom icon packs: I never would have thought how much traction that iPhone customization got when widgets came out and then Apple’s Shortcut team also gave a nod to what people were doing last year by removing some the delay when you launch an app with a custom icon. I think Apple should just embrace custom icon packs and look at them as a business opportunity. People really love to customize their phones and I think they should enable people to do it. I think that it would be really popular with younger people in particular.
13. 3rd party wallpaper app support: There were rumors of this a couple of years ago, but being a be able to plug in 3rd party wallpaper apps into system settings would be neat. It would be cool to have something like Bing Wallpapers chat your phone background or Lock Screen every day. I still don’t know how you can’t have a photo album as your Lock Screen every day.
14. Free form Home Screen: I think its time to just let people put icons where they want on the Home Screen on the iPad. They already started that with widgets and then obscured things a little more with App Library last year. It can be frustrating to place widgets these days because iOS wants to left align everything on a grid. I think its time to give up on that old paradigm and if people start placing widgets then just assume they want to be an able to put icons anywhere.
15. Weather app: I really love what Apple did with the weather app last year, bringing the best parts of Dark Sky while bringing forward a beautiful design. I hope that the iPad finally gets a weather app this year of its own. I mean, it already has a widget, but then it throws you to Weather.com, which is just ugly, awkward, and confusing.
16. Calculator app: Its still a little strange that the iPad does not have a calculator app
17. Apple Notes: Voice notes + automatic transcription + auto tagging suggestions would be handy.
18. Safari Reader List app: I wish that Safari reading list would be able to be broken out and get better offline support. Maybe just rename it reading list and make it a system-wide feature that 3rd party browsers could integrate with?
19. Password app: The iOS system password feature is fantastic, especially last year with the password leak alerts and the 2-step go generator. I think Apple should continue to raise the general security for everything and make it a system app that 3rd party apps like Chrome, Edge, and Firefox can use.
20. Redesign Share Sheet: The Share Sheet feels like its outgrown its original design and every time there is a beta it seems to break. I wish Apple would rethink this paradigm and see if they could redesign it when people start to have too many apps.
21. Return of Game Center app : With Apple Arcade, I think that there should be a Game Center app or a dedicated Apple Arcade App that lets you download apps, chat with friends, and even voice or FaceTime call them. Stuff like leaderboards and achievements should be front and center, as well as what your friends are playing. I think Apple needs to keep working on Apple Arcade, especially with how powerful the M1 chips are not, the iPad and iPhone are ridiculously powerful portable consoles that Apple is not doing enough to foster.
22. Apple Health with Food + Water Logging: I wish that Apple Health would get food logging and water tracking this year. I think it would be much more private if Apple did it and as somebody who brings their iPad with them to lunch everyday, it would be great to be able to log my food + water intake while I’m reading the news or journaling with Day One over my break.
23. Apple Mail: Apple Mail is just ok. I wish that it had better search, particularly for mail on the server as well as the ability to snooze email, which I feel like is pretty table stakes at this point. AI based auto responses would be really handy, particularly if you did not have a keyboard handy on the iPad, as well as tagging email support for folders and mailbox rule creation on the iPad itself would be really useful to those who do a lot of email on their iPads.
24. Apple Books: Comics Guided experience would be cool for the iPad, as would a Immersive Reader mode for ebooks for accessibility. I’m not dyslexic, but I do find that I use Immersive Reader a lot on Windows 11 to focus on email or technical documents since I work a job that people often bust into the office like the Kool Aid man a lot of the time and I can lose track of what I’m reading in the mix. I think having an Immersive reading mode in Apple Books and even Apple News would be great for a great number of people regardless of age or abilities.
25. Apple iCloud+ VPN for Safari: I wish that Apple would have some kind of iCloud VPN or heck, get back into the router game and let you have a VPN to your home connection. If they didn’t want to do that for all of iOS, maybe just having a VPN extension for Safari and just Safari would be a great thing for everyone’s general security. I think having a protected Safari mode for stuff like paying bills or doing private searches when on public Wi-Fi would be a great thing for their users since not everyone can afford a tethering plan on their iPads all the time.
With all of that being said, I know that’s a great many things, but I would just be happy to see some of these features in iPadOS 16 at this point. I’m a big fan of the iPad and iPad Pro platform and I would love to continue to see it grow and mature into its own platform, pushing up against the Mac more aggressively to the point that people question if they need a Mac and pushing down against the iPhone making them question if they really want a huge iPhone like the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but rather be more content with a smaller iPhone like the iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro. I cannot wait for WWDC this year and hope that we get some good news.