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iPadOS 16 adds laptop-style multitasking

The tech giant aims to align tablets with desktops with all-new collaboration features, Stage Manager, and whiteboard app

iPadOS 16

Apple has officially announced iPadOS 16, its tablet-based operating system, with a range of new collaboration and workflow features. 

The next iteration of iPadOS will have a greater focus on multitasking, though this is largely saved for M1-based iPads.

Like the macOS Ventura announcements, iPadOS 16 will have a form of the Stage Manager feature that allows users to see all their open windows and apps at once. Their current tab or app will float in the centre of the display while other open applications will sit down the side, ready to be dragged and dropped into place. Up to four apps can be displayed on the iPad, with another four available with an external display or connecting to an iMac.

Stage Manager on iPadOS 16
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Collaboration features are also coming to office apps like Pages, where users can share and edit central documents, similar to services Google offers on Sheets and Docs. Apple's version will work like a thread with participants alerted to changes as and when they happen. Other apps with this new sharing tool include Files, Keynote, Numbers, Notes, Reminders and even Safari. The company is also offering an API for developers to add the same - or similar - function into their own apps.

iPadOS 16 also has a new whiteboard app - Freeform - which is basically a sharable canvas supported with the Apple Pencil. It's due for release later in the year, but users will be able to pull up a variety of files, such as PDF documents, images and web links to edit and showcase on a whiteboard. 

Much of this focus on collaboration is about bringing iPadOS more in line with desktop operating systems, with Apple claiming users have requested certain features. This is also true for new functions to view folder size on iPad and the ability to change file extensions. There is also a new colour reference mode which should benefit image and video workflows.

A developer preview of the new OS is already available with a public beta following in July. A full release, however, will be available sometime in the Autumn.

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