Apple previewed iPadOS 17 during the WWDC 2023 keynote earlier this week. While the new operating system won’t be ready until later this fall, developers can already try it out by installing the beta on their tablets.
But after watching the keynote, I’ve been using iPadOS 17 for the past few days, and the system already feels a year old. Here’s why.
With iOS 16, Apple revamped the iPhone’s Lock Screen with custom fonts, widgets, filters, and integration with Focus Mode. iOS 16.1 then added Live Activities, which appear on the Lock Screen or Dynamic Island with flight information, Uber or food delivery updates, and more.
While all of these features were celebrated when iOS 16 launched last fall, iPadOS 16 didn’t include any of them. A year later, Apple is finally updating iPadOS with the same revamped Lock Screen and support for Live Activities that iPhone users have been enjoying for months.
It’s not the first time Apple has done this. With iOS 14, the company revamped the Home Screen and added the App Library, while these changes didn’t hit the iPad until iPadOS 15.
Although all new features are welcome, Apple makes iPadOS 17 feel like a small update, mainly because it hasn’t introduced any iPad-Mac cross-platform features as it did with Project Catalyst, Universal Control, or Stage Manager, while it still charges premium prices for tablets with M1 and M2 chips. That said, there are a few upgrades worth noting.
iPadOS 17 doesn’t unlock the M2 iPad Pro’s potential, but it does make it easier to use
Two features that do have me excited for iPadOS 17 – but should have been made available long ago – are third-party webcam support and the ability to use a USB-C microphone.
These two changes alone can improve vlog and podcast recording, as users can rely less on a Mac and enjoy the practicality of iPadOS. As always, the hardware is already there, but Apple lacked the proper software to integrate these features.
In the future, I don’t need Apple to put macOS on the iPad, but I hope it gives more people a reason to pay for this premium hardware.