iPad needs floating app windows to reach its full potential

With iPadOS 16 right around the corner, there’s plenty of hope that a rumor of floating app windows for iPads will come true. This would make your Apple tablet more Mac-like, without turning it into a Mac.

Improved support for external monitors is also available on many people’s wish lists, including mine. Apps on multiple screens will be another important part of making the iPad more productive for power users.

It’s time to make iPad more powerful

In the current situation, iPadOS has a problem with the user interface. Placing two apps side by side on the screen is more difficult than it should be. While casual users will likely be happy to run one app at a time, experienced users need to work with two or more apps on screen almost all the time.

Apple made some nice improvements to multitasking in iPadOS 15, but there’s still plenty of room for progress.

The main problem is that iPads multitask side by side differently than Macs — and every other computer people are used to. Expect to learn a whole new way to put apps next to each other just for the iPad. It’s silly.

The iPad needs to offer floating app windows like any other computer. But it should be done in a way similar to the iPad. macOS Direct Copy will not work on a touch tablet.

Apple may already have the answer. And the change I’m requesting may be announced in just a few weeks.

iPadOS 16 can bring floating app windows

Apple is widely expected to unveil iPadOS 16 at its Worldwide Developers Conference in early June. This will give iPad users their first final look at the changes coming next year.

But we already know some of what to expect from the leaks. Our most reliable information comes from BloombergInsiders say that iPadOS 16 will introduce a new multitasking interface.

There aren’t many details, but one of the guides is getting more specific, predicting that support for apps in floating windows is in development and may appear this year.

Expand the cuteness of iPad

According to the unconfirmed report, the iPad will continue to display apps in full screen mode when used as a traditional tablet. But connecting an external keyboard and trackpad may cause apps to turn into floating windows.

One way this can be achieved is to have apps that display larger iPads with smaller iPhones. For example, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a 2,732 x 2,048-pixel screen that can display multiple 1,334 x 750-pixel iPhone SE apps in floating windows.

This would replace or supplement the current side-by-side multitasking system in iPadOS. The current system is very functional – I use it all day, every day – but it’s not very intuitive. In contrast, people are accustomed to floating windows because it is the way they have interacted with their Mac and PC for decades. Mixing the two will give more options to the users.

If the rumors prove true, iPadOS 16 may launch an iPad that functions like a tablet when carried like a tablet, but performs like a Mac when configured like a MacBook.

This is a much better option than slapping macOS on the iPad, which is something that is often suggested. Apple’s desktop operating system is not designed for touch screens or for use without a keyboard. This is why the MacPad would be a disaster. Make iPadOS more like macOS while still stay iPadOS is the best option.

iPadOS 16 should make external displays more useful

Floating application windows must be extended to the second screens connected to the tablet. Being able to open different apps in floating windows on the tablet screen and an external screen would be a huge improvement.

Obviously, we will have to interact with an application on an external screen using the cursor and the touchpad / mouse. But iPadOS has had that capability for years, and many people prefer to work with their iPad this way when they have a removable keyboard attached to it.

However, there have been no leaks indicating that Apple will allow the iPad to make better use of second screens. Unfortunately.

Just to clarify, there are uses now. As just one example, I regularly use my iPad to watch movies and shows on TV. But the options are very limited given what should be possible.

Make M1 make sense

The iPad Pro and iPad Air both have the same Apple M1 processor that is used in many Macs. The iPad Pro 2022 is expected to have a rumored M2 chip. You’d be wasting a lot of power – Currently, very few iPad software requires chips that strong.

Floating application windows are the solution, especially with open applications spread across multiple screens. Having a web browser, email app, and video editor active simultaneously would go a long way toward justifying the M-series processor in an iPad.

Take the iPad in a Mac-like direction

Since its inception, the capabilities of the iPad have grown steadily. Initially, it did not support multitasking at all, but application windows were added along with it in later upgrades. Floating app windows for iPad is a possibility this year, and it will be a huge step forward in tablet usability.

From what little we know, this appears to be the direction Apple is heading. This fits in with the long list of improvements that have made the iPad more Mac-like while still sticking to the basic features of the iPad.

There are many of us who already use the iPad as our primary computer and love floating app windows. May 2022 be our year.

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