what I want to see coming on iPad then

iPad Pro: the ultimate guide

Source: Joseph Keller / iMore

When Apple launched iPadOS at WWDC 2019, it was the surprise that many of us iPad enthusiasts expected: a separate operating system for the iPad. While the first iteration, iPadOS 13, shared many features with the release of iOS that year, the two are starting to diverge slightly. For example, we see this in the recent adoption by iPad of full trackpad and mouse support, which is not present on the iPhone.

While many iPad fans are used to waiting two years between substantial and iPad-specific updates, branching iPadOS into separate software, Apple has set a certain level of expectation. For example, macOS doesn’t always have massive updates from year to year, but it is still in the credential and still gets important functionality.

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Given that the iPad is a more popular line of devices than the Mac at this point, I have no doubt that Apple will take the time during its speech for WWDC 2020. But what do I want to see from iPadOS 14? What I want?

Well, here are my priorities, my wishes, for where Apple can go next with its tablet software. Some are very practical, some can be a bit fanciful, but hey, this is a wish list, right?

Keyboard and trackpad

Keyboard and trackpad

Keyboard and trackpad

Source: Joseph Keller / iMore

I think Apple hit him right out of the park when he introduced full trackpad and mouse support on the iPad with iPadOS 13.4. But just because something starts very well doesn’t mean it can get better, and I would love to see Apple take these features, especially trackpad support, to the next level.

With that in mind, here’s what I’m looking for in the next evolution of keyboard and trackpad support for the iPad.

Customizable keyboard shortcuts

I don’t mean the ones you can customize by enabling full keyboard access. I don’t want to always highlight on my screen. No, I mean user-defined keyboard shortcuts like Alfred or Keyboard Maestro for everything in the system.

For example, when I use a keyboard, I wish I could press Control-Option-A to open the AirDrop menu and share everything I watch on a device near me. Or press Options-S to open Safari or Control-Command-S for Slack.

More Ways to Call Slide Over Apps

Starting from my wishes for keyboard commands, there should be more ways to get your Slide Over apps that don’t move your cursor all the way to the right of the screen, and then go a little further. Same thing to send them back. A keyboard command – or a trackpad gesture – would be a great way to do this. Talking about that …

Edge gestures for trackpad

The trackpad support on iPadOS is currently in excellent condition. It’s a great first full run. As more and more apps support it, it gets even better, giving iPad users more options to navigate their devices.

But Apple can do more. My suggestion would be edge gestures. Currently, in macOS, a two-finger swipe to the left from the right edge of the trackpad slides over the Notification Center. On iPadOS, I think a similar gesture could bring up Slide Over apps when you’re in an app.

Going further, I think you could integrate more similar gestures. For example, swiping two fingers down from the top edge will bring up the Notification Center, while the same from the bottom will call up the dock. Finally, when in an application, a two-finger swipe from the left edge of the screen can automatically call up the widget view.

Shortcuts

Shortcuts

Shortcuts

Source: Joseph Keller / iMore

Shortcuts could be my favorite thing on iPhone and iPad. This allows me to create tools to help my devices work better for me. Of course, I would like to see improvements, especially on the iPad.

Window shortcuts

I’d love to see the shortcuts gain actions for more platform-specific actions on the iPad. In particular, however, I want actions that deal with the iPad’s unique window mechanisms: Split View and Slide Over.

Right now, I can create a shortcut that just opens an application. I would like to see shortcuts that allow you to directly open two applications side by side in the split view. You must specify both applications in the shortcut beforehand, then when you run the shortcut, they appear together.

I would also like to see a shortcut action (if Apple is not going to add this feature to multitasking on the iPad itself) which, when enabled, drags an app into the Split View right or left position, with a similar shortcut action for Slide Over. You would be able to designate the application that the shortcut activates in advance, or, of course, choose the Ask each time setting so that you can choose from a list each time you activate your shortcut.

All of these would be particularly useful, especially considering my next wish on the list.

Keyboard activation

Currently, if you enable full keyboard access on your iPad in the Accessibility settings menu, you can define specific key combinations on an external keyboard that activate certain functions on your iPad, including shortcuts. But enabling full keyboard access can be a problem, and anyway, the shortcuts don’t really work the way I want them to be, anyway.

For example, if I activate a shortcut using full keyboard access now, I see a notification with an “Execute” button. Then I have to press this button to execute the shortcut.

Instead, I wish I could define a keyboard command for a shortcut in the Shortcuts application. Previously, you had to manually define the expression used to activate a shortcut with Siri, and although this requirement is gone, I would like to see similar functionality return for keyboard commands. Then, once you’ve activated your shortcut, it can run without you having to confirm it (or maybe switch it to the shortcut as well).

I would love to combine this feature with the next wish on my list, if that were to happen too.

Running in the background

I would love to run a shortcut without being dragged into the Shortcuts app every time. While that isn’t much of a problem for the shortcuts I use with Siri on my iPhone, I usually press the shortcuts to run them on my iPad, and I really wish I didn’t have to switch to the shortcuts every time time I do it.

Take, for example, my AirPods Pro shortcut. It’s just a little button that I created for my current device to connect to AirPods Pro if it isn’t already connected to them. I use it on both my iPhone and iPad via a button on the home screen, and when I tap that button, I’m immediately taken from where I was before to the Shortcuts app.

It would be great if, instead, the shortcuts could just run things in the background. It could work like this: I press the button, a notification of shortcuts appears to tell me that my shortcut is running, then a second notification appears when the shortcut is finished.

Little things like these would go a long way to improving the experience of iPad shortcuts.

applications

12.9-inch iPad Pro

12.9-inch iPad Pro

Source: Joseph Keller / iMore

As always, I’m curious to see what new features app developers can use with their apps on iPadOS 14. We will undoubtedly see countless new APIs released this year at WWDC. I have no specific functionality for the apps I would like to see now, except that they continue to expand their capabilities.

But there is one feature that I would specifically like to see happen to iPad apps.

Preferred mode of application

Split View and Slide Over are both great tools for organizing apps, and I’m a big fan of Slide Over. Why open my note taking app and get away from everything I used to do to take a quick thought when I could just drag my note app, write my thought, and push it away?

I wish I could set a preferred mode for each Slide Over compatible app. You tap the icon in the Dock, activate the app from a Spotlight search, or otherwise activate an app when using another app, then the app opens in Slide or Split View. This could be supported in an application section of the Settings menu.

That way, whether the app is already in Slide Over or erased by memory management, it would not matter, it would still appear in Slide Over when you activate it. For example, I never need to use Tot, my “scratch paper” application of choice, in full screen mode. Never. So being able to set Tot to always open in Slide Over would be great.

What if you are not in an application and only on the home screen? Well, the app opens as usual, in full screen.

Widgets and home screen

Widgets

Widgets

Source: Joseph Keller / iMore

This part of my wish list could usually be shared with iOS, but since the home screen widgets already exist to some extent on the iPad, I should put my wishes here. But there is more than what I want for the home screen than widgets.

Widgets everywhere

Although placing widgets on the side of the home screen in landscape mode was a solid first step, I would like to see it go further in iPadOS 14. Although there are concepts that see the application icons potentially develop into widgets on the home screen for iOS 14 (and, presumably, iPadOS 14), I wouldn’t mind seeing Apple take current types of widgets and simply expand where they can go and let us resize them.

Because make no mistake, I would take this shortcut widget and expand it from the top to the bottom of my screen if I could. No other widget below, now the time and date above. But it would also give more space for my other widgets to be more useful to me. Given the way I use the Shortcuts widget, it is still expanded, which means that if I want to use other widgets in this view, I have to scroll down.

If I could create a home screen that was just widgets, that would essentially change and transform my first home screen into a useful dashboard, with a dock full of my most essential applications below (whatever I always wanted to see on the iPhone).

Files

Currently, I’m using Federico Viticci’s FS Bookmarks shortcut and the wonderful Scriptable application to create shortcuts that open specific folders for me in the Files application. In particular, I have shortcuts for my PDF files, Downloads and Documents. I tap one of these shortcuts and the corresponding folder opens in the iCloud Drive section of the Files app.

While it works for me, I would love to see Apple add the ability to pin folders to your Home screen in iPadOS. Just let us check a box or flip a switch while we’re in a folder in the Files app that says something like “Show folder on home screen” and then pop it up on the screen home, just like an app icon.

And it would be great if you could do it for any folder, not just those in iCloud Drive. You can have a mix of iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive or Synology folders just sitting on your home screen, ready to access anytime.

Marking

Marking

Marking

Source: Joseph Keller / iMore

I have a change of markup in mind that I would really like to see, and it’s a little big.

The markup sheet

The major change with the markup I want is what I call the “markup sheet”. Basically, in a sense of abstraction from the user interface, it is a “layer” that is placed “over” everything you mark. What is really going on is that you are creating a merged double layer document, where you can easily switch between your markup and the original source material.

The markup sheet would be implemented by the developers, and the tagged documents would be saved as almost invisible layers as part of your document. If you went to export the original document, the markup would not be included in this export. You could only export this layer when it was visible.

This would facilitate physical tagging of digital documents using Apple Pencil. And I could just get my wish, or at least part of it. Recent rumors suggest that Apple will bring Apple Pencil support to Safari on the iPad. This leads me to speculate that some sort of markup overlay system may be in the works as I described above, because it’s the only thing that seems logical to me why Apple would add support from Pencil to Safari.

But maybe that’s just wishful thinking. However, this is something I would like to see soon on iPadOS.

Your wishes

I recognize that all of this could be a lot to ask, especially this year. But that’s the purpose of a wish list: to put what you would like to see in the world. This is what I want to see in iPadOS.

And you? Do you have specific features or applications that you want to integrate with Apple tablets? Let us know what you want most in iPadOS 14 in the comments.

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