Over the past few months, I have made multiple trips to Apple stores to get myself a new Mac. Though I would have in normal course got a new Mac by now, I haven’t been able to disassociate myself from the three-year-old iPad Air. It has been my primary work machine – and honestly I don’t see myself getting rid of it for another two years. The iPad is a great device for work but the experience isn’t close to what you get on the Mac.
So when a beta version of iOS 11 was released recently, I decided to update my iPad to the latest version of the operating system. I can already test an early version of Apple’s next major release on the iPad, which will launch this fall. Apple says iOS 11 is the “biggest release for iPad ever”, and I completely agree. Apple has completely revamped the user interface with major emphasis on multi-tasking. From a completely redesigned app dock to the control center that can be fully customised, a lot has been changed.
iOS 11 seems to be a new beginning for the iPad, which in the recent past has become a second fiddle to the iPhone. With iOS 11, Apple has tried to deliver a MacOS-like experience on the iPad, which should have been done long back. After using a beta version of iOS 11 on an iPad Air, I decided to highlight the top five standout features that will turn your iPad into a completely new device.
A redesigned app dock
Perhaps the biggest change you will notice in iOS 11 for the iPad is a redesigned app dock. The bottom row on the screen has been altered and replaced with a MacOS-like dock. So now you can put as many apps in that dock (up to 13 apps supported).
All you need to tap on an app icon and drag it into the bottom row on the screen, but on the right side, the dock has three spots reserved for recently opened apps. The dock disappears when you open the app, but you can always swipe up from the bottom edge to bring it back. It feels more like you are using a desktop computer. A nice addition.
The Control Center can be customised
Control Center has been completely redesigned as well. As you might be aware, the Control Center in iOS consists of the collection of controls like Wi-Fi, Airplane mode, Bluetooth, AirDrop and the camera, among others.
Not only has the look and feel changed, but it is also configurable now. You can add many more shortcuts, from an alarm to a screen recording and even Apple TV remote. Control Center also has recently used apps in screen view.
An organised way to see files
Both iPad and iPhone are getting a file storage app. So essentially it acts as a central place where you can see all the files, spreadsheets and folders you’ve opened.
And not just those stored natively into the iPad, you can search on other locations such as iCloud, Box, Dropbox and Google Drive. It’s really convenient for someone like me who work on multiple stories in a day.
Drag and drop feature has been implemented well
Drag and Drop takes advantage of the iPad’s multitasking capabilities. And I was surprised to see how smooth the drag and drop feature worked on my old iPad Air. Drag and drop uses a touch-and-hold based multitouch interface, making it convenient to transfer photos, links and files between apps.
You can drag and drop a single photo or multiple photos between applications. For example, you want to send your birthday photos to your friend. All you need to tap them inside the Photos app and then drag then into your email application. This is by far the best feature you’ll find on iOS 11.
A new way to take screenshots
Taking screenshots on the iPad or iPhone have always been possible. You take a screenshot, then go to the Photos app first, and edit it before saving it. With iOS 11, Apple has created the new screenshot tool, which lets you to edit your screenshots before saving or sharing them.
So now when you take a screenshot by pressing the home and lock button, it creates a window in the bottom left of the page. You can then edit it and doodle on screenshots before saving them.