Apple unveiled a range of new features for iPadOS 14 at its keynote presentation at the Worldwide Developers Conference.
The biggest change in the new tablet operating system focus on Apple Pencil Support, part of the company’s continuing effort to make handwritten inputs as effective as a keyboard.
To that end, Apple has developed ‘Scribble,’ a new iPadOS feature that will allow users to handwrite into every text field offered by any app on the system.
The feature will automatically convert handwriting to typed lettering, and will also recognize Chinese characters in addition to the standard English alphabet.
Scribble will let users switch back and forth between handwritten English and Chinese within the same document and even in the same line, and will automatically translate both English lettering and Chinese characters into clean type.
Scribble will also support a new sub-feature called ‘Shapes,’ that will automatically straighten any hand-drawn circles, rectangles, or lines a person draws if they hold the Pencil down for an extra second or two after finishing drawing the shape.
iPadOS 14 has also been revamped with a number of new system-level features that will make it more closely resemble standard macOS features currently used in Apple’s laptops and desktops.
iPadOS 14 will come with a new ‘Sidebar’ feature that will give users more options for organizing and navigating files across a range of apps, including Photos, Notes, Music, and Files.
Users can pull up a Sidebar view at any time by pressing a small icon in the corner of each app, which will reveal a new list of features running along the lefthand side of the screen much like the sidebars you might find for those same apps in macOS.
In Photos the sidebar will let users drag pictures into different albums and organize images by date, location, tagged people, and more.
In Music, the sidebar will let users navigate between Listen Now, Playlists, Radio stations, and can also call up a new fullscreen player that shows song lyrics scrolling in a pane on the right side of the screen.
iPadOS 14 will also feature a revamped universal search function similar to macOS’s search feature, letting users find and launch apps, or quickly pull up specific documents from emails, calendar appointments, or other saved files on the device.
The search bar can also be used to perform quick internet searchers without having to first open a web browser.
Finally, iPadOS 14 will support many of the new features introduced in iOS 14, including live widgets, a compact Siri interface that doesn’t block out the whole screen when in use, and a new smaller notification graphic for incoming calls.
Apple hasn’t announced a final launch date for iPadOS 14 yet, but it’s expected to arrive in the fall of 2020.