Wednesday, May 29, 2024

iPadOS 17 adds upgraded widgets, customizable Home Screen and new native apps

Apple today unveiled the latest version of iPadOS at WWDC 2023. Called iPadOS 17, the new version builds on the past generation but adds several vital upgrades. For example, widgets are improved to feature better live interactions, the Home Screen can be customized similarly to the iPhones and there are new native apps, including the Health app and an improved Notes app.

The iPad has long played second fiddle to the iPhone. This year’s update is no different. Today’s announcements should sound familiar. The iPhone received many of these features last year. With iPadOS 17, Apple is bringing the iPad to parity with the iPhone.

“Our users love personalizing the iPhone lock screen so we’re bringing that experience to iPad,” said Apple’s Craig Federighi during today’s presentation. He was speaking while a video demonstrated the new Home Screen background functionality. Like the iPhone, users can customize the Home Screen to feature a rotating gallery of images, different clocks and improved widgets.

Users can now interact directly with apps through their Home Screen and Lock Screen widgets. This basic widget functionality has long been missing from Apple’s implementation. It was a strange omission for so long, but now, with iPadOS 17, users can finally check off to-do items directly from the widget.

The iPad’s Lock Screen now features Live Activities, too. Like on the iPhone, an Uber Eats Live activities widget will now show the most up-to-date status of an order without the user refreshing the app.

The Health app is coming to the iPad with iPadOS 17. This new native app for the iPad is a welcomed addition. It will sync with the Health app on a user’s iPhone and Apple Watch, serving the information on the iPad’s larger screen.

Apple announced several other minor additions and adjustments in iPadOS 17. When connected to an external monitor with a webcam, the iPad can now access and use the camera on the monitor. Stage manager was also updated with new layouts. Freeform, the iPad’s collaborative white board app, gained new tools and a workflow tracker allowing users to follow the development of the project over time. The Notes app can now autofill PDFs, too.

The new operating system will be released in Fall 2023.

iPadOS 17 adds upgraded widgets, customizable Home Screen and new native apps by Matt Burns originally published on TechCrunch

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