Apple surprised many fans when it unveiled a separate operating system for iPad at WWDC 2019 called iPadOS. This new software freed the tablets from some of the restrictions imposed by running on the same OS as the iPhone and paved a way for two streams of device going forward. While the version numbers may retain similar counts - iPadOS 13 and iOS 13 - there is plenty to differentiate between the platforms. Now, as the first major update to iPadOS is on the horizon, we look at what you can expect from iPadOS 14.
When will iPadOS 14 be released?
Obviously, due to the newness of iPadOS (the first instalment of which launched in autumn 2019), there isn't much form to go on when predicting release dates. Traditionally, iOS updates are announced at WWDC in June then released alongside new iPhones in September. In 2019 Apple followed the same pattern with iPadOS and it's highly likely that this will be true in 2020.
This isn't certain, though, as Apple's iPad launch events are far less predictable than its iPhone events, and it's possible that it will decide to tie iPadOS updates in with them.
The iPad 10.2in came out in September 2019, but we've also seen new iPads at education-focused events in spring, at WWDC in summer and at dedicated launch events in October, which used to be when most of Apple's tablets made their debuts - as was the case with the iPad Pro 11in (2018) and iPad Pro 12.9in (2018). There's quite a few openings when iPadOS 14 may appear... but we still think September is the best bet.
Will my iPad get iPadOS 14?
This also remains unclear at the moment. When iPadOS first released it was available for all tablets stretching back to the iPad Air 2, but if the device you're on now didn't get iPadOS 13 then there's practically no chance that it will be compatible with iPadOS 14.
Here's a list of devices that support iPadOS 13 and should hopefully work with iPadOS 14:
- iPad Pro 12.9in
- iPad Pro 11in
- iPad Pro 10.5in
- iPad Pro 9.7in
- iPad (7th generation)
- iPad (6th generation)
- iPad (5th generation)
- iPad mini (2019; 5th generation)
- iPad mini 4
- iPad Air (2019; 3rd generation)
- iPad Air 2
What to expect from iPadOS 14
With the release date still far off in the distance, there's not much in the way of solid rumours for the features that Apple will be introducing with iPadOS 14. Of course, there's plenty that we'd like to see appear in the next update, so we've gathered together the rumours that do exist, alongside our own wish list.
It's a simple thing, but one that could come in very handy. The ability to put all your alarms on snooze for a specific span of time would make it very convenient when on holiday, as you don't have to turn everything off manually then reverse the process when you return.
As it's all software-based, and hardly a mammoth undertaking, we think this could be a great addition to iPadOS 14.
Proper support for using a mouse
Apple did include a mouse support feature in iPadOS 13, but it's buried in the Accessibility section and has a number of issues. The cursor is the size of a fingertip, rather than the more precise arrows we're accustomed to, and requires the same movements and gestures as you'd use with touch-control.
Bluetooth devices seem to work ok, but a wired mouse seems to be a challenge for anything other than the Pro devices. If Apple is serious about making the iPad a laptop replacement, then making mouse support more functional, easier to find, and simply more mouse-like would go a long way to make that happen.
Apple Watch support
This one just seems obvious to us. Up until now health data collected by Apple Watch remains solely compatible with an iPhone. Now, while we can make some sense of the need for an iPhone when gathering data (although this feels less necessary now that there are Apple Watch models with LTE capabilities), not being able to then view the information on a larger screen like your iPad or Mac is, well, quite daft.
We're sure there's some kind of security issue involved, but even so, this is surely something that Apple can fix with the integration of a Health app for iPadOS.
Bring back the split keyboard
Typing when holding an iPad, especially the larger ones, can be something of a challenge. For years there was a simple solution in the split keyboard that placed one half on one edge of the screen and the other on its opposing flank.
In iPadOS 13 this was removed and replaced instead with a floating keyboard, but this just doesn't help in the same way. We'd like to see the reinstatement of the split keyboard in addition to the floating variant. It shouldn't take much to implement but could make the day-to-day use of an iPad much easier for a lot of people.
An app drawer
With the Home screen getting an overhaul in iPadOS 13, replete with the ability to host widgets, now could be the time for Apple to leave behind its approach where every app has to be on the screen. An app drawer would keep things tidy and prevent users from having to create a junk folder for storing everything you don't use.
Yes, it's an Android thing, but it also mimics the behaviour of macOS and other desktop operating systems which generally have an Applications section where you can find all the programs on your device.
Seeing all the apps you have installed was useful on a phone when people were still unfamiliar with how to use them, but today it feels antiquated and messy. Just creating an Apps button that opens a Launchpad-style pane containing your installed software would be a great way to start 2020.
So, there's our thoughts so far. Of course, as more information about features that are due to appear in iPadOS 14 appear we'll be updating this article to include them. Be sure to check back regularly to see what lies in store for the iPad in the year ahead and also read our iOS 14 rumour roundup to see what the iPhone will be receiving.