The iPad now has its own operating system, as announced by Apple at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last night. iPadOS is a spinoff of iOS (for iPhone), dedicated to, and made specifically for, the tablet's larger screen. And it brings with it a number of improvements mostly aimed at delivering a more computer-like experience.
For one, there's a new home screen with widgets that expand alongside app icons. It adds new multitasking gestures to slide between multiple apps, and drag and drop apps side by side.
A new Files app has a column view - just like Finder on the Mac - along with an information pane so you can modify files. For the first time, the app on iPad supports USB and SD mass storage devices, so you can plug them in and access them on your tablet.
The Safari web browser has been improved for iPadOS to make it more like Safari on a computer. In addition to a download manager, it gains 30 new keyboard shortcuts, text size controls, per-site settings and options for uploading photos.
Apple is adding fonts to the App Store, too, so you can customise your app experience. And it's improving the cut and paste function (a three-finger punch copies, then a three-finger spread pastes).
The latency of the Apple Pencil has been improved on iPadOS (from 20 milliseconds to nine), and third-party apps can now use new controls.
The iPad will also add mouse support, though it's only an accessibility feature for now, so Apple would still rather you used the touchscreen. It all adds up to a more laptop-like experience.
iPadOS joins iOS (which iPads have run previously), tvOS (Apple TV), macOS (Mac computers) and watchOS (Apple Watch) in Apple's family of device-specific operating systems.