iPadOS 16 takes tablets closer than ever to laptops

The past two years have been good for computers, thanks to the work-from-home and home-study schemes. However, in the post-pandemic world, most people are back in the office or on a hybrid work arrangement. That’s a strong case for devices that are more portable than laptops, but just as functional. Smartphones, of course, can do most things. But their small screens and the inherent limitations of their operating systems – Android and iOS – make them a less than optimal solution for work.

Tablets, on the other hand, fit the bill when it comes to screen size. But they are also limited by the operating systems: iPadOS on iPads and Android on other tablets. Apple, maker of the iPad, seemed serious about making tablets as an alternative to laptops when it launched the iPad Pro a few years ago. The hardware was excellent (the iPad Pro now has the same M1 chip used in the MacBooks) but the software has never been up to par.

That could soon change as iPadOS 16, which launched a week ago and will be available to consumers in September, brings tablets closer than ever to laptops. A new feature called Stage Manager makes multitasking a breeze as it’s a lot easier to see the apps open and switch between tasks. You can also see folder size (yes, couldn’t before) and change file extensions. Apple allows manufacturers to create drivers for iPad that allow external devices to connect to the tablet. There are rumors that Apple has plans for a 14-inch iPad Pro.

While the jury is still out on whether iPhones are better than Android phones, iPad’s supremacy among tablets is undisputed. iPadOS 16 will not only widen that gap, but also bring the battle to the realm of laptops.

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