What just happened? Apple's WWDC 2020 conference kicked off today, bringing with it the announcement of iPadOS 14, the latest version of its tablet-focused mobile operating system. As usual, iPadOS 14 brings numerous changes to the iPad experience, ranging from new features to design tweaks.
One of the main improvements arriving with iPadOS 14 is the overhauled Search function. Moving forward, Search will be easier and more convenient than ever -- you'll be able to use it from within any app, and it will no longer cover your entire screen.
Instead, Search is a small pop-up that lets you continue working, browsing the web, or watching a video while you type. Furthermore, Search is now universal, letting you browse all of the files, contacts, and apps on your device. Web searches have also been refined, with more "powerful" and relevant suggestions popping up as users type in their query.
This emphasis on compact, unintrusive design also extends to other functions throughout iPadOS 14, such as incoming FaceTime and phone calls. Now, these call notifications only occupy a small window at the top of your screen, making it easier to avoid distractions while you work.
Navigation was another focus for iPadOS engineers this time around. With iPadOS 14, sidebars have been streamlined, and dropdown menus help you access various native app-specific functions faster. New sidebars have also been added to several apps, such as Photos.
Instead of navigating various menus to browse different photo collections, for example, you can just swipe from the left to open the sidebar and view a list of all categories, including Favorites, Recents, Albums, and Recently Deleted. In short, just about every app feature can be accessed from one place.
iPadOS 14 also adds Scribble functionality to iPad, provided you have an Apple Pencil. This feature lets you directly write in any text field, and iPadOS 14 will do its best to convert your scribbling into readable words. On launch, Scribble will only support English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, and "mixed Chinese and English," but more languages may arrive in the future.
Several other smaller feature additions will arrive with iPadOS 14, including improved augmented reality tools for developers, enhanced privacy protections, new accessibility options, Message pinning functionality, and more.
iPadOS 14 will launch in beta next month, with a full release scheduled for this fall.