The iPadOS Update We’ve Actually Been Waiting For

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

There was a lot of good stuff in iPadOS 15 announced at WWDC last week. Hell, I’m running it on the iPad I’m using to write this post, and it’s made my iPad meaningfully better in some key ways. And yet there is a sense of disappointment around this not being The Update that we’ve all been waiting for.

Since I have no time for vague bitching about software, I wanted to lay my cards on the table for what would make me say, “this is The Update I’ve been waiting for!”

The Update

It’s pretty simple: when I plug my iPad Pro into an external display, that display will show my wallpaper or some sort of launcher, it will not mirror my iPad’s screen. It will also fill every pixel of my 16x9 display.

Now I can either launch apps from the second screen or drag apps from my iPad over to the display and drop them there (this probably requires a mouse, but I’m open to some clever touch solution). They’ll take up either half or all of the screen, no need for full on resizable windows. Of course, if Apple’s got a clever way to do freeform windows, I’m all ears.

This gives me an iPad setup that can have up to 4 apps on screen at the same time, as well as maybe a slide-over app and a picture-in-picture video playing in a corner somewhere.

All of this is built to be navigated and managed via a keyboard and trackpad, so it won’t be for all iPad users, but it will work great for those who use their iPads like laptops, which I would wager is most iPad Pro users.

Oh, and maybe RAM is a concern, but the new iPad Pros ship with as much RAM as Macs, so I trust Apple could make a few more apps work at the same time. Aspect ratios could also be a concern, but tons of iPad apps run on the Mac today and can be resized to arbitrary sizes, not to mention any half-decent iPad app is already dynamically sizing itself to look right on the many different iPad sizes & aspect ratios already.

And that’s it! There are more things that could make the iPad better, but this is the one thing that I think would make me go, “this is what I’ve been dreaming of!”