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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Our 2021 iPad Pro and iPadOS 15 Wish List

Dear Apple... Dear Tim... This is our wishlist for the 2021 iPad Pro.

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The iPad Pro since its launch last 2018 is still a powerful and capable device. Even after today where rumors of an imminent iPad Pro 2021 to be released this April has been coming, I find myself doing this article on my trusty iPad Pro attached to the Magic Keyboard that has made it a typing beast. This device still offers zero lags on the task they are asked to do. I suppose it does that as it cannot do so many task at once due to the limitations set by iPadOS. Our iPads these days are no longer entertainment devices made just for watching Netflix or Apple TV shows or reading the news with all the huge screen advantage. Someday, we’re going to further blur the lines between what an iPad is in the all so popular topic of whether it’s going to replace your computer.

The latest iPad Air has inherited most of what makes the iPad Pro an amazing device. This year, we are very excited to see how the iPad Pro can better differentiate itself. The iPad Pro is our most used and favorite device due to being a hybrid between our phones and yet ever so mobile than our laptops. As such, this list is quite exhaustive.

So here’s our wishlist of what we hope to have for the upcoming 2021 iPad Pro. And for iPadOS 15 which is going to be previewed on WWDC 2021.

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Mini-LED Screen

The iPad Pro screen is a 120Hz beauty of a screen that is the best among Apple devices to be consuming entertainment, watching movies, playing games, and reading the news. The screen is at the heart of what we see. With iPhones having transitioned from LED to OLED displays – which is a visual beauty, we would love to see Apple take the iPad screen a step higher. In fact, why not even a few more steps higher.

We are excited to see the transition to Mini-LED display in Apple product line. Mini-LED makes use of miniaturized backlighting and features over a thousand full array local dimming zones which can offer higher contrast ratio, higher brightness and deeper blacks. It is more power-efficient and less prone to burn in than OLED display.

There were several rumors last year that Apple will use the display on the Apple Watch Series 6. It never materialized due to production issues. We are hoping that this year will be different.

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Better External Monitor Support

iPad Pro Connected to an External Monitor.

Try connecting the iPad Pro via AirPlay or HDMI to your external monitor and it will display black bars on the side, as if you’re suddenly back to the past consuming Standard Definition content in a world of High Definition. The iPad Pro needs to grow into a better productivity device. It needs to allow users to dock and connect to larger external monitors. iPads are also only capable of Screen Mirroring. We would love to see it extend the screen as as second desktop for it to become a true productivity workhouse. Think taking notes, surfing the web, and having a Zoom meeting on a bigger monitor at the same time. Or even watching Netflix movies while browsing on your emails. It will not just be limited to the current Picture-in-Picture (PIP) feature that’s available.

Pro Apps

Apple has been rallying developers to make Universal Apps with the development framework Catalyst. Native Mac apps built with Mac Catalyst can share code with iPad Apps, so that developers can just code once, and have the app usable in all Apple device platforms. This has been off to a slow start with Adobe the only major software developer to be able to have a native Photoshop and Lightroom app run beautifully on the iPad.

The iPad Pro is a hardware beast with very powerful internal specifications. Apple can set a good example by making their Pro Apps and Xcode run on iPads. This means having full, native, touch friendly versions of Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, Motion and Compressor. Or why not even put Apple Pencil support. Maybe the flat surface of the pencil can incorporate some additional gestures apart from double taping. Like one where you can glide your fingers and precision scroll through video timelines – similar to the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pros. By doing that, Apple will lead by example and show other 3rd party developers that iPad Pro is not only made for fun, but also as a professional grade workhorse device.

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Better File Support

Apple needs to rethink multi-tasking on iPadOS. The iPad Pro doesn’t offer the flexibility of having background tasks open when apps are closed. Multi-tasking beyond the Split View feature is challenging in a window-less environment. Maybe Apple can fix this with the use of widgets. It brought widgets to iOS last year but its implementation on iPadOS is quite limited. I believe it can take better use of widgets in iPadOS to achieve a truly multitasking device. By allowing us to place interactive live widgets on the Home Screen, it can allow those apps to stay open in the background and set a refresh rate for those apps.

It will also be nice for Apple to bring the App Library from iOS to the iPad so that apps don’t just sit on the Home Screen. Yes, you can organize apps by folders but it gets messy after a while.

We love to see Apple fix the limitations of iCloud as well. An example of this would be how Google Drive allows you to play a video immediately when you click on the file by steaming it directly from the cloud. iCloud won’t allow you to watch any videos without first downloading the entire file before playing it. You will end up with tons of files on your iPad taking up valuable storage space if you forget to delete them afterwards. Not to mention the time waiting for the video file to download in full. I’m sure Apple users love to see a robust iCloud file system that is already baked in their devices. Fixing these issues will make it more competitive with other cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox.

Apple Watch Integration and Apple Health

Apple Watch integration is mostly tied to the iPhone with the Mac capability of unlocking your computer. With the upcoming release of iOS 14.5, your Apple Watch will be capable of unlocking your iPhone when you’re wearing a mask. It will be nice to have that feature integrated with the iPad as well. It will also be nice to receive your notification on your Apple Watch when you’re close to your iPad. I don’t know the exact numbers but I imagine that many iPhone users owns an iPad as well, and a few more owning a Mac. It will be nice to have a central repository of notifications that are processed in the cloud so that when you read a notification from your iPad, it won’t pop up on your iPhone or Mac anymore.

Our Apple health data are growing as we use our health devices over the years. Now we have chunks of data from the Apple Health App on the iPhone that will be great to have it sync to the iPad for a bigger viewing experience. I imagine it won’t be hard to do that as our health data is currently synced over iCloud. Apple just need to make Apple Health App for the iPad, perhaps using Catalyst, that will sync our data from the cloud to our iPads.

If Apple further wants to champion a one ecosystem for all its devices, it can start bringing the Apple Watch app to the iPad as well. Don’t you think it will be nice to be able to set up, customize and manage our Apple Watch form the iPad?

Multi User Profile or Guest Mode

As we get more attached to our devices, it becomes more personal to us. Our iPad Pro stores all our photos, emails, messages, contacts, browsing history and everything else that is personal to us. Have you ever had the experience of having someone ask to see if they can use your iPhone or iPad and you constantly look at them to make sure they use it only for the intended purpose. Or have a child use our iPads to watch a Netflix video of Pororo Singalong, but wary that they might open something that they’re not supposed to see.

It will be nice to be able to lend our iPads to others without fear that they might be snooping on our personal stuff. We might not all be guardians of State Top-Secret files, or Top-Secret unreleased Apple products, but there are some personal things accumulated toward the years that we don’t like others to be looking around.

Other Small Wishes

We are quite certain Apple is going to offer 5G support as the world gears towards data hungry consumption and with the iPhone 12 offering it last year. We hope Apple can bring other features like Optimized Battery Charging to the iPad. The feature has been in our iPhones, Macs, Apple Watch and AirPods except on the iPad. I’m not sure why it’s the only device that’s left out. It will be nice to see our battery health as well.

Apple Battery Health Settings.

The Magic Keyboard has bought magic to our iPads once used primarily for consuming entertainment. We love to see a dedicated settings section for all keyboard and mouse customization, not needing to go through different places like accessibility to access some of those settings. If Apple would be extra kind this year as to not change the form factor of the new iPad Pro, so that the we could still use our previous accessories like cases and keyboards that we have bought over the months of owning the last best thing.

It will also be nice of Apple to offer some solution to the orientation of the FaceTime camera so that those that use their iPads on landscape mode can be at the right orientation when making FaceTime video calls or when on Zoom meetings.

Apple has stated before that there will be a major refresh of its OS system every two years. iPadOS 13 brought us the Files App and keyboard / trackpad support as well as WebKit desktop class browsing. iPadOS 14 refined iPadOS and didn’t really bring much to the table. We are hoping that this year’s iPadOS 15 will be the big one.

As rumors of an impending iPad refresh is coming, and with the preview of iPadOS 15 coming this June, what features would you like to see in the iPad Pro? Let us know on twitter @insideioscom or in the comments below.

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