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iPadOS 13 – Why I’m Looking Forward To It

When it comes to tablets it is safe to say the market is pretty much dead. Sure you have plenty of cheap Android tablets but they don’t tend to get any updates, plus the fact that most tablets on the market all suffer from the same issue of running mobile operating systems which can be restrictive in certain workloads.

For those who have seen my Surface Pro 4 review from some time ago, you’ll know that I chose it for the fact that it ran a full version of Windows 10, which meant that I could use all of the programs that I needed for college (Chrome, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Photoshop, Brackets etc.) as well as anything else I wanted, whilst on the go. The form factor and weight also played into my purchasing decision. Well, fast forward a couple of years and I finished college, sold the Surface and took a break for writing. This meant that my use case quickly changed; all I now use is my gaming PC and my Galaxy S8.

Like a lot of people, my content is consumed online, which means that I either use my S8 or PC to access it. Don’t get me wrong, both ways work just fine, but there are times where I find myself wanting something in-between. I’m once more led back towards a tablet or a laptop. I don’t really fancy a laptop due to the proportionate size, so I leaned more towards a tablet. There’s only one way to go in that space now isn’t there?

Enter, the iPad Pro, specifically the 11-inch model. Why the iPad? Without trying to sound like a broken record the Android market is stale with many devices not receiving updates. Sure I could go down the Surface route once more but one thing I strongly disliked about the Pro 4 was how bad Windows 10 was with only a touchscreen. The vast majority of the time I was having to use the trackpad on the keyboard cover. The 12.3-inch screen was just a little to big to use in its tablet form.

As it currently stands with iOS 12 on the iPad, it has been proven by creators such as “TLD”, that videos can be edited on the iPad Pro with a few workarounds. There are plenty of other people showing their own workflows.

However, back in June 2019 at Apple’s special event they announced iOS 13 and it’s safe to say that in the iPad world it is probably one of, if not most, anticipated updates of all time.

I’m not going to sit here and do and full write up of all the changes because let’s face it, there are loads of full write-ups due to the event being 3 months ago. Instead, I’ll be covering the key features that I’ll personally be looking forward too.

Home Screen

One of the main aspects of the design of iOS from the beginning of its existence is the fact that no matter if you’re using an iPhone or an iPad, the app icons take up the entire screen. To the Android guy, it means that you essentially have no app drawer. Whilst an iPhone due to the smaller screen estate, it doesn’t prove to be that annoying, on an iPad it is pretty annoying seeing all the wasted space. Well, Apple have fixed this issue – sort of. They’ll allow you to pin widgets to the left of your screen with the rest of the icons to the right. Sure it isn’t a drastic change but the fact that they are now allowing you to utilize more of the home screen is nice to see.

From Apple’s Website

Game Controllers

Whilst the ability to pair Bluetooth controllers has been around for a while, in iOS 13 you’ll be able to pair your PS4 and your Xbox One controller too. These are two of the most commonly used controllers on the market and I personally use an Xbox One controller with my PC, so the fact that I can pair the Xbox One controller with the device and play both iPad games and PC games via Steam Link, is going to be great.

One thing that I don’t enjoy, in fact, I will go as far as saying I hate, about mobile gaming is having to use on-screen gamepads. I just can’t get on with them. I need something to feel the difference between the buttons.

The use of an Xbox One controller would have been a great option to have when I went away for the night with a few friends to Great Yarmouth for the Wheels Festival/Take Over. I had some downtime and I ended up just watching the TV in the hotel. As someone who doesn’t watch traditional TV, trying to flick through and find something to watch was frustrating and never mind the fact there really isn’t much on TV these days anyway. So this, with some good games, would have passed the time more pleasantly.

Dark Mode

courtesy of Apple

Dark mode is a design choice that has been out on the smart device market for quite a while, and on my PC is something that I have turned on all the time, mainly due to the fact that I personally find the white backgrounds too bright for me.

You can quickly toggle it in the ‘control center’ and even schedule it. Not only does is it integrate into a system-level within iOS but Apple has an API that allows third‑party developers to implement Dark Mode in their own apps. With Apple implementing an API for this, the big developers will be all over this feature, and I think that’s great.

Safari

Whilst I’m a Chrome guy due to using Android phones and Windows PC’s, I can’t argue that the updates in Safari look interesting and are long overdue. In theory this could mean that Safari will once more become the number 1 browser for the iPad for many.

The main reason for this might be that in Safari on iOS 13, it automatically loads web pages as if you were on a desktop. This utilises the larger display of the iPad more fully, again helping make the iPad more of a possible laptop replacement.

Apple also added a file/download manager meaning that you can check on the file you’re downloading, quickly access downloaded files and drag and drop them into another file or email you’re working on. More importantly, you can even download files in the background whilst doing other things on the device.

Fonts

Fonts are something that I never thought about when it comes to the iPad, mainly because I haven’t found myself creating content on the iPad, and this is the only time I ever find myself wanting to change fonts. in iOS13 you can simply install fonts from the App Store and manage them in settings. It’s nice to see this simple change included.

courtesy of Apple

Multitasking

One thing that the iPad hasn’t done all that well is multi-tasking and multi-window use. Sure, you could snap two different apps side by side but that’s pretty basic. Well, now you can snap two instances of the same app. This is something that should have been there from the day that split-screen came to iOS. Whilst not groundbreaking, it’s something that I would find annoying not having and it’s another tick for the iPad for those with productivity workflows.

Swipe Over is a new feature that is kind of looks cool too. You simply swipe over the iPad from the right and you are able to quickly access a small version of the app. Not only can you access it but you can also use the app as if it was loaded up in split-screen. Think of this as a floating window version of the application you’d normally use in full screen. You can also drag and drop into the main app. This is brilliant for content creation and just attaching files. The other beauty of slide over is that it has its own multitasking. Meaning that a quick swipe up and you’re able to access the other slide over apps. Again, not groundbreaking, and not something I think I’d find myself using often but the fact it’s there would be handy.

Files

Saving the best for last, file access is the main area that has changed, for me, and is probably the single announcement that got me really keen for an iPad running iOS13. The ability to plug external drives is massive. Flash drives, SD cards, SSD’s, HDD’s, anything you can plug into its port (Type-C or Lightning via an adapter). This feature is something that in my opinion the iPad has always been missing. There are many videos on YouTube of people plugging multiple devices/peripherals in at the same time, which for me is something that I’d want to do. With the iPad being the size it is, it would be a perfect device for me to take away and be able to offload the footage from my Drift Ghost S and move on to a hard drive so I can format the Micro SD card, and not have to worry about running out of space, as well as taking photos of my Nikon D3100 and putting them onto the drive. The fact that it has taken Apple this long to implement is quite frankly ridiculous – but it’s here! It’s not all positives though. Reports of a lack of support for NTFS might become a bit of a problem considering that I’m a Windows guy and I’m not looking at making a full switch over. I would still want to sit at a traditional desktop with two 21.5-inch monitors and work in full Windows 10, with data pulled from the iPad. We’ll see I guess?

SMB file servers is another feature that has been added into iOS13. This means that you can connect to your file servers like you do on a traditional desktop OS (i.e. mapped drives). No more using device-specific apps as well as meaning that you can even access your own custom-built file servers too. Drag and drop again is also available to use.

courtesy of Apple

Conclusion

To round it all off, with the additions to the files managers, an enhanced Safari browser, and improved multitasking, iOS13 will breathe new life into the iPad Pro 11-inch, which is on my radar. The fact that it has taken Apple this long to implement some of these features is no longer the point; they’re here now.

iPadOS 13 is set to drop this Autumn and it won’t be until it finally drops and is started to be used by mainstream consumers, we’ll really understand the impact of the update.

The thought of having a tablet again that doesn’t weigh anything, is small enough to store in my top box, can charge off of a battery bank and can actually perform when away from home is a very intriguing one. When I’m back at home, I can use it to consume my content and play casual games and even stream them from my PC with a controller natively, which means that it could become a laptop replacement for me quite quickly.

Like with everything Apple, there is always a cost implication. The update is free, however, aside from the iPad Pro 11 inch 64GB costing me around £769, I’ll have to plump for some accessories to make the most of my iPad experience:

  • Apple Pencil 2 – £119
  • USB C Hub – £39.99
  • Logitech Smart Folio Case – £109

In total, my little trip down Tablet Lane will cost me around £1,040, which no matter how you look at it, is still a good chunk of cash for what is, still, just a tablet. For that sort of money you could buy a much more powerful device:

  • Dell XPS 13 with an i5 for £1,199.99
  • HP Spectre 13 i5 for £1,349.99
  • Razer Blade Stealth i7 for £1,099.00

As I previously said we’ll have to wait until the Autumn, but hopefully the iPad will finally show off its full potential.

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About Chris Wallace

Techie, Gamer, Biker

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