iPadOS Will Make Your iPad Pro a True Laptop Replacement

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iPadOS Will Make Your iPad Pro a True Laptop Replacement

One of the most notable announcements from WWDC 2019, even including the reveal of the new Mac Pro, was the announcement of iOS 13 and iPadOS. Hear that? iPad is getting its own distinct operating system that will bring enhanced capabilities. What kind of changes, you ask? This overhaul will transform the iPad into its most powerful iteration yet, and iPadOS brings it one step closer to being a laptop replacement for many, including me. 

iPadOS Slide Over
iPadOS Slide Over

Laptop Replacement? 

Ever since the tablet showed up, it has been making a pitch that it can be your everyday computer. It was certainly possible for some individuals, such as my parents, to make the switch to the tablet for 99.99% of their needs. However, I still needed certain functions and capabilities that only my MacBook Pro could offer me. I always wanted to be able to toss an iPad into my bag and call it a day, and I really did try, but it never got me there.

Being able to go with only an iPad is appealing for so many reasons. Primarily, it comes down to size and weight. It’s smaller and much lighter than any MacBook Pro I’ve owned, and feels just as powerful, thanks to brilliant optimization by Apple engineers. Also, for some reason, I always feel more comfortable with the durability of an iPad compared to a MacBook, especially since I can tuck it into a case, such as the UAG Scout Series Case, for an added degree of protection against bumps and drops, which helped when we brought the iPad Pro along for Adventure Week this year.

iPad Pro with Smart Folio and UAG Scout Series Case
iPad Pro with Smart Folio and UAG Scout Series Case

Unfortunately, the shortcomings were few but crippling. No real file system, limited support for external devices such as hard drives, and a lack of "pro" apps for my photography and video needs all meant that no matter how much I wanted to pack only an iPad, I always needed to have my laptop at the ready. Practically all of these issues have been or will be fixed with iPadOS and third-party solutions, and I think it can seriously replace my need for a laptop every time I travel. 

Top New Features 

Number one on my list of welcome changes is a double: a revamped file system and the ability to work with external storage devices. The latest iPad Pro is going to see the biggest benefit here, with its sweet USB-C port bringing wide compatibility to many existing devices without any need for a dongle or adapter. Being able to plug in a hard drive or SD card, work with files, and then unplug the drive to use in my MacBook or iMac later on is amazing. It’s a simple thing but a huge one, especially since, with devices such as the Kanex iAdapt Docking Station, you can achieve a connectivity level matching that or exceeding that of netbooks and compact laptops.

iPadOS Files App
iPadOS Files App

Next up is the redesigned Home screen and upgraded Slide Over and Split View functions. This system lets you run multiple apps side by side in an intuitive fashion. It’s what you may want to do on a laptop or desktop computer, and having it more fleshed out in iPad makes it all the more effective. No more needing to switch between apps to get your work done. The new Home screen is nicer because it sits better on the iPad’s larger screen (compared to an iPhone). More apps can be displayed and more widgets and other shortcuts are readily available.

Numerous quality-of-life changes are coming in iPadOS that make the entire experience of using the tablet much better. The keyboard now is a lot more customizable to deal with the iPad’s portable nature; you can even float it on screen and operate it with a single hand if you like. iPadOS will also support custom fonts, meaning you can get some serious design work done with all your favorite typefaces. For web browsing, Safari now offers a desktop-class browsing standard, so no more messing around with poorly optimized sites—it’s full-featured pages all the time. And, there is a new Dark Mode that should alleviate your eyes when the sun starts to set. This has been long awaited and I love it. Beyond that, the latest OS will be optimized for even faster performance than iOS 12, a nice icing on the cake.

iPadOS Dark Mode
iPadOS Dark Mode

One of the biggest benefits to iPad compared to a Mac is its support for the Apple Pencil. The Second-Generation version brought many welcome changes and with iPadOS the latency is now among the best of any styli. Smooth and, now, with a brand-new set of tools for marking up or editing photos and documents, the Pencil offers something you just can’t get on a Mac. Talking about the Pencil leads me to the last feature on the list: Sidecar. Oddly, this isn't exactly a laptop replacing feature but one that will supplement your Mac. I feel it is definitely worth a mention because it makes is possible to connect your iPad to a Mac and transform it into a graphics tablet for your computer. It even works wirelessly! So, even if you still need your MacBook or iMac or Mac Pro for certain things, the iPad can serve as both a stand-alone tool and a helpful accessory for getting your work done.

Photoshop for iPad is Coming 

Yes, Photoshop for iPad is still on its way. It's been a while since Adobe announced it but there are no indications that the 2019 release window has changed—here's hoping for an official announce at Adobe MAX. This is the final piece of the puzzle for my setup and I'm assuming many other photographers and designers. It may not be the same as full-fledge Photoshop software today, but the software is being built from the ground up for iPad and should be incredibly well optimized. Speed should be no issue and large files will be handled by the iPad’s advanced processing capabilities.

Adobe Photoshop CC for iPad
Adobe Photoshop CC for iPad

The iPad Pro may be my next computer; will it be yours when iPadOS finally releases? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section, below!

Be sure to check back on B&H Explora for more of Adventure Week—and don't forget to follow B&H on Twitter @BHPhotoVideo for up-to-the-minute #adventureweek news.

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