Apple says that it wants software to take better advantage of the iPad’s large screen. Two pieces of software in the beta version iPadOS already show this: an improved version of the Safari web browser and a software keyboard that can be shrunk and moved around the screen.
Apple calls the iPadOS version of Safari a “desktop class” web browser, meaning that when you visit complex websites, you should get the full-sized version instead of the shrunken down version you’d see on a smartphone or iPad running iOS 12 and older.
This worked well in our experience: Popular websites such as nytimes.com, yahoo.com, tmz.com, and, yes, ConsumerReports.org all appear just as they would on a Mac or PC, meaning you don’t have to pinch and zoom around simply to read the latest headlines, which sometimes happens pre-iPadOS.
The onscreen keyboard works well, too. New to iPadOS is what Apple calls a Floating Keyboard, which you can activate by pinching the regular onscreen keyboard. The keyboard then shrinks, and you can drag it around the screen.
This is handy because it allows you to type a quick note while keeping both hands on the iPad—the app window is where your thumb naturally rests.
Another way Apple is taking advantage of the larger screen of the iPad is by letting you permanently pin Today View (a small window containing widgets such as weather and headlines) to the left side of the screen while you’re in the main home screen. There’s still room for plenty of app icons to the right, but this gives you an immediate heads-up on some key information.
New to both iPadOS and the iPhone’s iOS 13 is the ability to type much more quickly by swiping from letter to letter. This is the key feature in popular third-party keyboards, including SwiftKey and Google’s Gboard.