Posts tagged with "iPadOS"

The One Where Quinn Nelson Tries to Create a Window with iPadOS’ Stage Manager

I’ve published my fair share of criticism regarding the iPadOS version of Stage Manager over the years. I wrote about it again last week, but most of its underlying issues date back to the original release in late 2022, which I documented here.

But let’s say you don’t want to read my articles and would prefer to have a more practical example of the issues I described. In that case, go check out this three-minute video by Quinn Nelson, in which he tries to have a Freeform window on the iPad and another Freeform window on an external display:

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This video has everything:

  • It shows the confusing lack of Mission Control/Exposé to see all active windows for an app in Stage Manager.
  • It highlights the lack of a window picker in Stage Manager. Quinn points out that he can see a window picker on the iPad’s display, but that’s because the iPad is running in traditional Split View mode, which does come with the shelf.
  • Quinn is (rightfully) perplexed by what ‘Add Another Window’ means.
  • The video shows the inconsistencies of Spotlight as an app launcher.
  • It also showcases the inconsistent implementation of keyboard shortcuts for multitasking.
  • The video shows how downright unintuitive the solution is. An alternative solution mentioned in Quinn’s replies is equally non-discoverable.

I’m sure someone at Apple may argue that this is the kind of feature people buy another computer for. But it’s always the same story: if Stage Manager for iPad exists, what’s the point of leaving it in this state for two years?

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Apple Marks Global Accessibility Awareness Day with a Preview of OS Features Coming Later This Year

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Thursday is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and to mark the occasion, Apple has previewed several new accessibility features coming to its OSes later this year. Although this accessibility preview has become an annual affair, this year’s preview is more packed than most years, with a wide variety of features for navigating UIs, automating tasks, interacting with Siri and CarPlay, enabling live captions in visionOS, and more. Apple hasn’t announced when these features will debut, but if past years are any indication, most should be released in the fall as part of the annual OS release cycle.

Eye Tracking

Often, Apple’s work in one area lends itself to new accessibility features in another. With Eye Tracking in iOS and iPadOS, the connection to the company’s work on visionOS is clear. The feature will allow users to look at UI elements on the iPhone and iPad, and the front-facing camera – combined with a machine learning model – will follow their gaze, moving the selection as what they look at changes. No additional hardware is necessary.

Eye Tracking also works with Dwell, meaning that when a user pauses their gaze on an interface element, it will be clicked. The feature, which requires a one-time calibration setup process, will work with Apple’s apps, as well as third-party apps, on iPhones and iPads with an A12 Bionic chip or newer.

Vocal Shortcuts

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Vocal Shortcuts provide a way to define custom utterances that launch shortcuts and other tasks. The phrases are defined on-device for maximum privacy using a process similar to Personal Voice. The feature is like triggering shortcuts with Siri, but it doesn’t require an assistant trigger word or phrase.

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iPad Review Roundup: Cutting Edge Hardware and OS Frustrations

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Late yesterday, iPad Air and Pro reviews were published, and I spent the evening reading and watching many of them, so I thought I’d share some highlights.

At Six Colors, Jason Snell, who has used and reviewed iPads for years, brings an excellent perspective to Apple’s latest iPad Pro. Like Federico, Jason is impressed with the iPad Pro’s hardware but frustrated by iPadOS:

This all leaves 2024’s modern iPad Pro in a very familiar place: It is a remarkable piece of hardware that can handle pretty much any task it’s capable of executing without breaking a sweat, and thanks to its new display, it’ll look great doing it. But it’s let down by iPadOS limitations (and more than a decade of slow-paced iPad development) that preclude it from being the shining star of Apple’s productivity line-up that it should probably be.

Also, like other reviewers, the iPad Pro’s new OLED screen was a highlight for Jason:

As a longtime user of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, I’ve been spoiled the last few years by its Liquid Retina XDR display. It was good, but it added weight and thickness, and even its 2500 individual dimming zones couldn’t match the precision that an OLED display can bring. Apple has outdone itself with the new Ultra Retina XDR display, powered by a tandem OLED panel that offers dramatic contrasts and bright colors.

David Pierce strikes a similar note at The Verge:

This new iPad Pro feels, in many ways, like the finale of the 14-year history of the iPad, all the pieces finally in place. It also feels, as ever, like a futuristic device plagued by software stuck firmly in the past, one I’m not sure I’d recommend to most people.

I do love it, though.

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Not an iPad Pro Review: Why iPadOS Still Doesn’t Get the Basics Right

Let me cut to the chase: sadly, I don’t have a new iPad Pro to review today on MacStories.

I was able to try one in London last week, and, as I wrote, I came away impressed with the hardware. However, I didn’t get a chance to use a new iPad Pro over the past six days ahead of today’s review embargo.

I know that many of you were expecting a deeper look at the iPad Pro on MacStories this week, but that will have to come later. I still plan on upgrading to a 13” iPad Pro myself; I’ve decided I want to return to the larger size after a few months with the 11” iPad Pro. If you’re interested in checking out reviews of the new iPad Pros from heavy iPad users like yours truly right now, I highly recommend reading and watching what my friends Jason Snell and Chris Lawley have prepared.

Still, as I was thinking about my usage of the iPad and why I enjoy using the device so much despite its limitations, I realized that I have never actually written about all of those “limitations” in a single, comprehensive article. In our community, we often hear about the issues of iPadOS and the obstacles people like me run into when working on the platform, but I’ve been guilty in the past of taking context for granted and assuming that you, dear reader, also know precisely what I’m talking about.

Today, I will rectify that. Instead of reviewing the new iPad Pro, I took the time to put together a list of all the common problems I’ve run into over the past…checks notes12 years of working on the iPad, before its operating system was even called iPadOS.

My goal with this story was threefold. First, as I’ve said multiple times, I love my iPad and want the platform to get better. If you care about something or someone, sometimes you have to tell them what’s wrong in order to improve and find a new path forward. I hope this story can serve as a reference for those with the power to steer iPadOS in a different direction in the future.

Second, lately I’ve seen some people argue on Mastodon and Threads that folks who criticize iPadOS do so because their ultimate goal is to have macOS on iPads, and I wanted to clarify this misunderstanding. While I’m on the record as thinking that a hybrid macOS/iPadOS environment would be terrific (I know, because I use it), that is not the point. The reality is that, regardless of whether macOS runs on iPads or not, iPadOS is the ideal OS for touch interactions. But it still gets many basic computing features wrong, and there is plenty of low-hanging fruit for Apple to pick. We don’t need to talk about macOS to cover these issues.

Lastly, I wanted to provide readers with the necessary context to understand what I mean when I mention the limitations of iPadOS. My iPad setup and workflow have changed enough times over the years that I think some of you may have lost track of the issues I (and others) have been experiencing. This article is a chance to collect them all in one place.

Let’s dive in.

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Sofa 4.0: A Customizable Downtime Tracker Without Compromises

I’ve written about media-tracking apps a lot in the past, and they tend to fall into one of two categories: there are ‘generalist apps’ that cover multiple types of media, and there are ‘specialist apps’ that go much deeper into one particular kind. The benefit of the former is having a one-stop destination for all your media tracking, while the latter usually goes further, focusing on the unique characteristics of one media type. There are advantages to each approach, but they’re serving two different kinds of users, so it’s not that surprising that apps don’t try to do both.

That’s why I was intrigued when I heard about Sofa 4.0 and its custom Categories and Ingredients features, which launch today. Sofa has always been one of my favorite apps for tracking multiple types of media, but as soon as I saw custom Categories and Ingredients, I knew the app had the potential to transcend the media tracker category by letting users have a greater say in how it’s used. That’s exactly what its developer, Shawn Hickman, has done, and the results are fantastic.

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The EU Pulls iPadOS Into the DMA Fray

Today, the European Union announced that it has added iPadOS to the products and services subject to the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The designation gives Apple six months to comply with the DMA.

In a press release, the European Commission said:

The Commission’s investigation found that Apple presents the features of a gatekeeper in relation to iPadOS, as among others:

  • Apple’s business user numbers exceeded the quantitative threshold elevenfold, while its end user numbers were close to the threshold and are predicted to rise in the near future.
  • End users are locked-in to iPadOS. Apple leverages its large ecosystem to disincentivise end users from switching to other operating systems for tablets.
  • Business users are locked-in to iPadOS because of its large and commercially attractive user base, and its importance for certain use cases, such as gaming apps.

On the basis of the findings of the investigation, the Commission concluded that iPadOS constitutes an important gateway for business users to reach end users, and that Apple enjoys an entrenched and durable position with respect to iPadOS.

In a statement to Bloomberg, an Apple spokesperson said that:

…the company remains focused on delivering for European consumers, “while mitigating the new privacy and data security risks the DMA poses.”

iOS is already subject to the DMA, and Apple’s response meant that actions it took to comply with the law did not apply to iPadOS, leading to incongruous differences between the platforms. With the addition of iPadOS under the purview of the DMA, I expect some of those differences will need to be ironed out.


Apple Frames 3.2 Brings iPhone 15 Pro Frames, Files Picker, and Adjustable Spacing

Apple Frames 3.2.

Apple Frames 3.2.

Today, I’m releasing version 3.2 of Apple Frames, my shortcut to put screenshots taken on Apple devices into physical device templates. If you want to skip ahead, you can download Apple Frames 3.2 at the end of this story or find it in the MacStories Shortcuts Archive.

Version 3.2 is a major update that introduces brand new frames for the iPhone 15 Pro line, improves the reliability of framing screenshots from devices with the Dynamic Island, and, perhaps most importantly, extends the Frames API with new configuration options to give you even more control over framed images.

Let’s dive in.

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The App Store’s Updated Purchase History

Matt Birchler discovered a change to the App Store’s Purchase Page that seems to have largely flown under the radar. There are more details on the new page than before, which makes it easier to review past purchases. By default, you’ll see your last 90 days of paid purchases grouped by day. However, you can filter by free and paid, purchase type, and family member who made the purchases. You can also limit results to the last 30 or 90 days, this year, last year, or a custom period, which Matt points out displays, at most, one year of purchases.

A few of my recent purchases.

A few of my recent purchases.

It’s also worth noting that your purchase history is not limited to apps. My purchases go all the way back to 2005, when I started buying music on iTunes. Playing with the filters is like opening a time capsule full of classic media finds and embarrassing ‘What were you thinking?’ purchases.

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Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 17.4 with Major Safari and App Store Changes in the EU, Transcripts for Podcasts, New Emoji, and More

Today, Apple released iOS and iPadOS 17.4, the fourth major updates to the operating systems that launched in September and Federico reviewed on MacStories.

iOS 17.4 is a significant release, bringing major platform changes to iOS in Europe as part of Apple’s response to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), as well as a handful of new features, including transcripts in Apple’s Podcasts app, new emoji, multilingual updates to Siri, and more.

Let’s dive in, starting with the main changes for iPhone owners in the EU.

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