New Leak Reveals Significant Design Upgrade Just Days Away

The next iPad operating system will have a major change to how the Apple tablet will be used, according to Mark Gurman at Bloomberg. And it’s just days away, as it will be featured in Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which starts next Monday, June 6.

June 3 update below. This post was first published on June 2, 2022.

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June 3 update. A report in The Elec has just landed, claiming some intriguing iPad design news, but this time for the hardware, not the OS mentioned below.

The report refers to Samsung, saying that it is about to create an advanced OLED production line.

The background is that it is talking about Gen 8.5 OLED. No, me neither, but the report explains, “Gen 8.5 (2200x2500mm) substrates are larger than the Gen 6 (1500x1850mm) used widely for smartphones. This means it is more efficient and productive for making larger OLED panels aimed at IT products such as tablets and notebooks.”

All very well, but Samsung makes both tablets and laptops. Hold on though, guess who the customer is…

It says, “The line is aimed at Apple, which is planning to adopt OLED panels more for its tablets and PC lineups.”

Well, that’s pretty interesting.

It goes on: ‘If Cupertino decides to more widely adopt them going forward, Samsung Display will likely invest to add another 15,000 substrates per month in capacity. The new Gen 8.5 line will likely start production in 2024.”

That’s a long way off, but don’t despair, we may see OLED iPads sooner because… “Apples first OLED tablets __ which will come in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes, will utilize Samsung Display and LG Displays existing Gen 6 lines.”

That’s mighty specific and gives us a clear idea that this OLED display will initially be aimed at the iPad Pro, as that’s the only tablet that comes in those sizes. That bit is the least surprising.

But the fact that the first OLED iPads Pro will use the existing Gen 6 line of products suggests even more clearly that we shouldn’t have to wait until 2024 for the screen tech to be on an Apple iPad Pro.

As always with these kind of leaks, there’s some salt to be taken with it—this is far from the first OLED iPad rumor.

But the timing makes sense. Where some had said this year’s iPad Pro would switch to OLED, this seemed ridiculous to me. Apple doesn’t introduce a new technology one year only to discontinue it the next.

However, an OLED iPad Pro in 2023, well, that’s an appetizing prospect. Now, back to how the iPadOS design change is going to be ground-breaking.

The big change is one that’s been top of the wish list for a lot of people for a long time: better multitasking. The iPad, especially when a keyboard is connected to it, is an accomplished computer. As Apple’s recent ad said, “Your next computer is not a computer”. It’s true that the iPad Pro is more powerful than a lot of regular laptops.

But there’s been one problem in using your iPad as though it was a MacBook with a touchscreen, and that’s multitasking. So, it’s great news that iPadOS 16 will have a “redesigned multitasking interface that makes it easier to see what apps are open and switch between tasks,” as Gurman’s sources put it.

For me, Gurman’s key sentence is this: “It also will let users resize app windows and offer new ways for users to handle multiple apps at once”. That’s pretty cool and overcomes a lot of the limitations the iPad currently has for productivity purposes.

There’s often been a perception that the iPad hardware has been so powerful that the software hasn’t kept up, especially with the advent of the Apple M1 processor which is found in the iPad Pro as well as Apple’s laptop and desktop computers.

Gurman says this announcement will be one of the biggest at the conference. No kidding. Since at the moment you are restricted to two windows running side-by-side plus a third one that pops over them to sit at the edge, a move to windows you can resize will be a change of seismic proportions.

The announcement will be followed by beta release for developers, then a public beta and final general release software in the fall.

More details as we have them.

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