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Why iOS on the iPad had to change

Recently, the iPad has started to lose its star power with improvements made only to the hardware. However could the new software features unveiled at WWDC be enough of a reason for people to upgrade to help to boost iPad sales this year? And what do these improvements mean for the enterprise?

In 2012 Tim Cook told journalists that he spends between 80-90 per cent of his time using the iPad. Tim went so far as to say that he even ditched the external keyboard, viewing the on-screen keyboard as enough to fulfill his needs. Recently though, the iPad has started to lose its star power, with sales dwindling. Even with Apple and IBM in partnership, the device appears to be losing ground to larger phones and lighter, smaller laptops.

Whilst Apple has made improvements to the hardware over the years, making the iPad lighter, more powerful, thinner and with a better screen; the software has generally been a larger version of the experience users have on their iPhone. This means that the only people who will see a valid need to upgrade are those who want the newer, faster, thinner and lighter model.

However could the new features unveiled at WWDC help to boost iPad sales this year?

True Split Screen
With iOS 9, Apple is making it possible to run two apps at the same time, side-by-side to the iPad Air 2 and above.

Whilst the announcement that Split-Screen only running on the iPad Air 2 may upset owners of the iPad 4 or original Air; it’s likely down to the processing power and RAM required to run two apps at the same time.

It’s a feature that will likely please business users the most, who may have found that the iPad can be a bit limited when trying to do anything other than replying to email, or being task focused in a single app.

Slide Over
Owners of the iPad mini 2 and 3, as well as Air and above will be able to use Slide Over, a feature that lets users pull a window from the side to quickly use another app. Effectively, this looks like an iPhone app running on the side of the screen. Slide Over lets you quickly reply to a message or view other information, without being as disruptive as jumping from app-to-app. It’s not true multitasking, as you can’t use both apps at the same time, but it will massively improve the user experience.

Many people use the iPad to watch videos, yet any time a notification comes in, they may need to stop what they’re doing, or use another device. This will also be limited to the same devices as Slide Over, but provide a huge improvement in usability.

This will also work with FaceTime, meaning that you can be talking to a colleague at the same time as looking at a document. Apparently, this will also work if you are using FaceTime and another video app.

Apple is also making improvements to the keyboard on the iPad, with the introduction of shortcuts for copy and paste, inserting documents or photos and text format. Apple is also introducing a feature which turns the keyboard into a trackpad, making it easier to select text or move the cursor around the screen. This should be available to iPads dating back to the iPad 2, helping to add functionality to a device that is four years old.

iOS 9 is bringing more of a focus on the iPad. As many will point out, these features are bringing it up to speed with what Microsoft and Samsung offer on their tablets. As the tablet that proved that tablets could work however, it’s a welcome addition.

iOS on the iPad had to change this year due to iPhones getting bigger. The experience had to offer something different, that’s closer to a computer, whilst still being mobile. By making the iPad more usable and powerful, Apple has made it more useful as a productivity machine. If you are the kind of person who uses their iPad for work, these new features could make your life a lot easier.

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