The idea is nice. In iPadOS 15, Apple is giving iPad customers the power to take away House Display pages and manage their apps into “useful classes” which can be solely seen if you want them to be. It makes the iPad House Display really feel a bit extra like a desktop—particularly if you conceal the opposite House Screens—and allows you to discover apps and find icons a lot faster and extra simply.
With a helpful icon within the dock, it feels loads like Launchpad on the Mac with one shortcoming—you may’t customise it. On the Mac, you’re capable of transfer icons round and create folders to create a customized area, however on the iPad, it’s the identical as it’s on the iPhone. Apple’s machine studying engine mechanically slides apps into folders primarily based on use and there’s no solution to change something.
Granted, Apple’s algorithm does a fairly good job, but it surely nonetheless feels very static and inflexible. Just like the Mac, the iPad is extra of a productiveness machine than the iPhone, and never figuring out the place an app will land every time you launch the App Library is a limitation that slows down your workflow. It’s the identical as it’s on the iPhone, however the place it’s a mere annoyance there, it’s a downright hindrance on the iPad.
One other iOS 14 function that made it to the iPad a yr late—for causes I don’t fairly perceive—is correct House Display widgets. Apple has introduced the entire widgets from iOS plus just a few bigger ones obtainable solely on the iPad, and so they look and act identical to iPhone widgets, sliding in between the icons on the House Display with out disrupting the prevailing grid. Widgets in iPadOS 15 are imagined to do the identical for the iPad that they did for the iPhone, but it surely doesn’t really feel fairly proper. Widgets observe the same idea to iOS however aren’t almost as pure.
On the iPhone House Display, widgets elevate the expertise and mix seamlessly with the prevailing icon grid. Icons and widgets are the identical peak and so they all match nicely collectively. Small widgets look nice alongside giant ones, icons fill within the gaps properly, and all of it flows completely.
On the iPad, widgets look off. Since there’s extra vertical and horizontal area across the widgets, they appear like they’re floating between the grid relatively than a part of it. It looks like two techniques operating facet by facet relatively than in unison. Whereas it’s an enchancment over the earlier technique, which moved widgets out of the Notification Heart and onto the House Display in a considerably slipshod method, widgets by some means nonetheless look misplaced. In iOS 14, the Right this moment display screen was principally plopped onto the left facet of the primary House Display in a scrollable column of iOS-style widgets, however in iPadOS 15 they’re extra built-in however nonetheless probably not a part of the entire.
You’ll be able to see it in Apple’s preview pictures. I questioned why Apple’s iPadOS 15 screenshots confirmed widgets on the high of the display screen and icons on the backside, and it’s clearly as a result of that’s how they give the impression of being greatest. However even should you observe that instance, it nonetheless doesn’t really feel like a fluid House Display. Widgets are concurrently cramped and scattered, and even the large-format ones, which take up 4 columns and two rows and are fairly large, are mere extensions of the iPhone model relatively than iPad-specific variations. There’s an excessive amount of area, not sufficient data, and really feel like a missed alternative.
Whereas the App Library and House Display widgets deliver the iPad a bit nearer to the Mac, it’s nonetheless frustratingly tied to iOS in far too some ways. I needed a brand new iPadOS House Display expertise that took the iOS 14 idea and reimagined it for a bigger display screen. As a substitute, I bought iPhone widgets on the iPad.
A few of the points need to do with the distinctive nature of the iPad’s show. In contrast to the iPhone and Mac, it must fluidly change between portrait and panorama modes, and Apple handles that nicely in iPadOS 15. However that’s additionally one thing of an excuse for letting the iPad House Display stagnate. Ready a yr for a similar widgets and App Library on the iPhone is a letdown, and there’s nothing transformative or transcendent about utilizing it.
Even setting apart the iPad Professional’s M1 processor and XDR show, Apple’s pill has a ton of untapped potential that’s been an replace away from greatness for a lot too a few years. iPadOS 15 introduced a few of the items we’ve been lacking. Not we simply want iPadOS 16 to place them in the fitting locations.
Michael Simon has been masking Apple for the reason that iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with know-how goes again to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He is nonetheless ready for that to come back again in type tbh.