Last year, Apple surprised everyone by announcing it was splitting up iOS, which, at the time, powered both the iPhone and the iPad. It was arguably the first time Apple showed that it was serious about improving the iPad software experience and finally catching it up with the hardware.
In March, Apple once again surprised everyone with the launch of iPadOS 13.4 and the addition of full trackpad or mouse support. Apple is indeed serious about moving the iPad forward, and I'm here for it.
Now, as we approach today's kick off of WWDC 2020, where Apple will reveal the latest iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac software updates, I wanted to take a few minutes to lay out my wishlist for iPadOS 14.
Keyboard shortcuts for common tasks
With the launch of Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro, Apple has given iPad users a legitimate laptop-like accessory. The only thing that's missing from it right now is a row of function keys with system controls for things like screen brightness, volume, playback controls, or take a screenshot. Right now, the only way to achieve those tasks is to use the physical buttons on the side of the iPad or use the Control Center, which is up in the top-right corner of the screen.
It would be much faster and more efficient if I could use a keyboard button combination to turn the number row into a defacto function row. Short of releasing another Magic Keyboard with a function row, keyboard shortcuts are the next best thing. Actually, I don't want to spend another $350 on a keyboard, so, Apple, please just take care of it via software, OK?
The iPad kind of has widgets now, but I want more. The Today View can be pulled onto the iPad's main home screen, displaying things like my calendar or weather updates, but it's locked into that single spot. I would like to have the option to drag any of those widgets anywhere I want on the screen -- which brings me to my next request.
Custom home screen layout
I ask for this every single year: Let me customize my home screen. I want to place app icons wherever I want on my iPad's (iPhone, too!) screen, and I don't care if maybe it gets a little messy. I'm an adult and I can make that kind of decision without being forced into a neat, clean app grid.
Android does this right, and you can't change my mind.
Improved Files app
The Files app on the iPhone and iPad provides access to cloud storage and local files, but it doesn't go far enough. Dealing with ZIP files is still hit or miss, and managing multiple files is a cumbersome process.
I'd love for Apple to add more MacOS Finder-like features to Files on the iPad. Make it possible to batch rename files, for example.
Files is a fantastic -- but basic -- file management solution. It's time to move it forward.
Better external display support
Connecting the iPad Pro to an external display does nothing more than mirror whatever is on your iPad's screen. It's not something I want to use or find very practical at all, especially now that I have trackpad support.
Adding true support for an external monitor, creating another home screen pane that's specific to larger monitors, maybe with more flexibility in the overall layout and interaction, would be very welcomed.
Multiple user support... what gives?
Amazon's Fire HD 8 tablet has multiple user support that allows a family to share the same tablet, why doesn't my iPad Pro? Or even the base model iPad, for that matter?
With many families facing the reality of some form of remote learning next school year, the ability to share any computing device is going to be a huge selling point, and right now, the iPad just can't compete.
I'll admit I don't know what all goes into adding something like the MacOS Terminal app to iPadOS, and this may be a far-fetched ask, but I'm asking for it anyway.
I use Terminal for all sorts of tasks, but mainly as a way to SSH into my various Raspberry Pi builds. Third-party SSH apps are mediocre, at best.
Even if Terminal is limited to just SSH, I'd be alright with that.
There are so many other small features, like the ability to finally set default apps, which I would love to see Apple bring to iOS and iPadOS this year. Thankfully, the wait for WWDC 2020 is almost over, and we'll soon know exactly what Apple has in store for its tablet lineup over the next year.
What do you want to see Apple add to either iOS or iPadOS? Anything not on this list that I missed? Let us know in the comments below.