When people buy a new device from today’s popular manufacturers, they expect years of software support. These software updates not only fix bugs and patch security vulnerabilities, but also bring new features to the table. The visual changes and practical additions also help users overcome the stagnation of using their phones, tablets or computers every day. We are naturally bored by repetitive images and system behavior. A system-level update can refresh the experience.
Apple revealed iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura and watchOS 9 earlier this year, and it’s time to move on. We’re already waiting for iOS 17, macOS 14, and watchOS 10—despite their first betas being months away—and now we’re looking at iPadOS 17. Here are seven things we’re looking for in the next iteration of the tablet OS.
The major iPhone maker markets the iPad as a portable replacement, but most people won’t throw away their mighty Macs while the decent iPad remains in its current form. Yes, the iPad is arguably the best tablet out there in terms of optimized app accessibility and features, but it’s not a laptop replacement for many people due to a few missing features.
A long-awaited iPad feature is multi-user support. A laptop is often shared between multiple people, and being limited to a single user account limits the iPad’s potential to become a PC replacement. Macs, HomePods, and Apple TVs already have multi-user support implemented, and we just hope Apple implements this feature with iPadOS 17.
Funnily enough, Apple already allows users to create multiple user profiles on school iPads. The company just needs to unlock this handy tool on non-educational iPads. Considering that the backend architecture is already available, it shouldn’t take Apple an insane amount of resources to deploy it universally as part of iPadOS 17.
Lock screen overhaul
Arguably the biggest iOS 16 highlight is the customizable lock screen. In case you missed the news, users can now add advanced personalizations to this part of iOS, including the ability to change the time’s font, color, and language. In addition to being able to insert practical widgets and create different wallpapers from scratch. Meanwhile, the iPadOS 16 lock screen received — drum roll, please — nothing.
Oddly enough, it was possible to take advantage of the new iOS 16 lock screen customizations during the early iPadOS 16 beta stages. Apple disabled them as it continued to stabilize the operating system.
We want to see these personalization options in iPadOS 17 in addition to iPad-exclusive items. The company can leave the control center visible, for example to save users from having to swipe extra. Apple could also introduce larger, iPad-only widgets that contain more detailed information and take advantage of the large and wasted space.
Richer home screen
Like the lock screen, the iPad home screen also needs a paint job. Apple has already started to allow us to place widgets on the home screen, but that is not enough. For the iPad to become a laptop replacement, it should at least have a more flexible home screen.
For example, we should be able to place app icons and widgets wherever we want on iPadOS 17. Right now, we’re limited to the traditional iOS limitation, which doesn’t allow users to have empty spots between apps. Another welcome addition would be the ability to add file icons from the Files app to the home screen. This will make the iPad home screen even more familiar to Mac/PC users.
The notification banners on the iPad are outdated. They’re unnecessarily long and belong to the pre-iPadOS era, when the iPad was just a stretched-out iPhone running a zoomed-out version of iOS. On iPadOS 17, I want the iPhone manufacturer to adapt the notification banners in a way that makes more sense on the large iPad screen. A potential driver could be shorter banners that pop up from the right side of the screen, similar to those on macOS. Allowing them to descend from the top in their current form is too out of place.
Apple Pencil fix
I tried using the Apple Pencil 2, but I was annoyed by the lack of system-level gesture support. You can’t swipe with an Apple Pencil to switch between apps, go to the home screen, or open the Control Center, which means switching between my finger and the pencil every time I jump from one app to another. Having Apple Pencil controls inserted into a single app at a time is too limiting. Users cannot rely on it as a universal stylus that replaces their fingers. I hope Apple revises this decision and removes these software links on iPadOS 17.
AirPlay is receiving support
With macOS Monterey, Apple turned the Mac into an AirPlay receiver. This means you can use your iPhone or iPad to mirror content to your Mac screen. iPads, as we have already established, have large and sharp screens. Even so, there is still no direct way for a person to mirror content from an iPhone to an iPad. Meanwhile, Mac users can already use their iPads as an external wireless display, thanks to Apple’s Sidecar feature. As part of iPadOS 17, the Cupertino firm can simply mark the iPad as an AirPlay receiver, allowing iPhone users to seamlessly mirror media from iOS to iPadOS and take advantage of the screen’s real estate.
Apple Watch integration
Your iPad is aware of the Apple Watch on your wrist. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and click a text field on watchOS. A notification immediately appears on iPadOS, so you can use your iPad to type into your Apple Watch. That’s not to mention that your iPad can display your Apple Watch readings when you’re working out on Fitness Plus. But this is not enough.
iPadOS 17 should focus on and integrate more Apple Watch features. First, the Apple Watch already unlocks my Face ID-equipped Mac and iPhone. There are no technical limitations preventing Apple from using the same concept on the iPad. The two devices are already aware of each other’s presence.
I would like an iPadOS 17 Watch app to receive iPad notifications on my wrist, customize my Apple Watch on the big screen, and not be limited to just the iPhone.
Another Apple Watch feature I’d like to see in iPadOS 17 is the Watch app, which is currently exclusive to iOS. Many Android phone users own iPads and would like to rely on an Apple Watch. When purchasing an iPhone isn’t an option, an iPadOS Watch app can serve as an ideal equivalent, allowing these users to pair and customize their watches. The Apple Watch already relies very minimally on the iPhone to collect relevant health data. Without an iPhone, users would simply miss out on half a dozen inconsequential metrics revolving around their walking patterns.
Even as an iPhone user myself, I would love an iPadOS 17 Watch app to receive iPad notifications on my wrist, customize the Apple Watch on the big screen, and not be limited to just the iPhone when it comes to smartwatches. Of course, this will also mean that the company is introducing a health app on the iPad for users to monitor their data. Having this application will also help us see these statistics more easily on the bigger screen.
iPadOS 17 Developer Beta 1 could be released in early to mid-June 2023. This means that Apple still has plenty of time to consider new additions and changes to be included in this OS version. In the meantime, we’ll just have to be patient, learn to love iPadOS 16 in its current form, and hope the company doesn’t disappoint us with a ridiculous release.
What features do you want Apple to implement in iPadOS 17? Let us know in the comments section below.