Apple has previewed the upcoming iPadOS 17 release for iPads this fall, which was demonstrated during the Apple developer conference WWDC 2023 on Monday.
It starts with new personalization features, which are custom lock screens where more than just the wallpaper can be adjusted, but fonts, styles, and colors too.
The new lock screens will also introduce Live Activities, which can show real-time ticket status for your flights, sport scores, or track your Uber or food delivery orders.
Next is interactive widgets, where Apple is enabling quicker one tap switches for Music, connected smart devices, and reminders, including from the lock screen already, which is a new step in user friendliness on the iPad.
Editing PDF files is also taken to a new level, where Apple says it’s implementing machine learning to more quickly be able to automatically add data in PDF document fields, where it can even copy information over from contacts.
Additional PDF manipulation features, with particular features supporting the Apple Pencil digitizer is also being added, including real time updates when a PDF file is shared with others.
Messages will get many new smaller features, from new animation options, Live Stickers, more search and sorting features, and more control over group chats.
And similar to what we have seen from Huawei and Xiaomi lately, it’s adding transcription of audio messages too.
People will be able to leave either video or audio messages in a FaceTime answering machine too, together with several animated Reactions that will come alive when the receiver opens them. Anyone who’s had messages come in during their birthday or other celebrated event lately will recognize this. Which can be good fun.
Apple’s messaging app FaceTime will also work on Apple TV 4K, so people can have live video calls on the TV, even if started on the iPad.
The standard iPad web browser Safari will add Profiles, so people don’t have to create a whole new user account, but instead keep separate browser profiles instead, like split between a personal and a work profile, which will then separate favorites, history, cookies and so on for each profile.
Private browsing, what’s called more relevant search suggestions, and increased responsiveness is also being added to Safari.
The Apple Health app will also be available in iPadOS 17, which will be great for charting data, though I assume most data collection will still be done by other Apple devices such as the iPhone and Watch.
But software developers can now use the HealthKit for iPad, so lots of new features are sure to come from that in time for the iPadOS 17 launch.
Additional OS updates includes Spotlight, which will make it easier to find associated settings, more workspace control in Stage Manager, new digitizer control features in Freeform, more items recognition in Visual Look Up, changes to autocorrect in Keyboard, including inline predictive text, learned user preference in AirPlay, and automatic grouping in Reminders.
Some very noticeable features also includes quicker activation of Siri, by just saying “Siri.” as well as downloadable offline maps where people chose an area to download, and still get routes while offline.
Privacy is also being enhanced some with more and clearer alerts and warnings about the effects of individuals setups and sharing.
And finally it will gain major accessibility tools, such as Live Speech, where it can read text aloud, or in Personal Voice, it can copy a person’s voice and imitate that personal voice from text.
So the iPadOS 17 update is a big one, which has something for everyone, and the long list of new and useful things an iPad can do is sure to attract many new iPad users too.
The update will be released during autumn, and is not only compatible with all iPads sold today, but is also compatible with the following iPads from Apple: iPad Pro (2nd generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), iPad (6th generation and later), and iPad mini (5th generation and later).
– Tom Bowen