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Apple previews iPadOS 15 with home screen widget support, system-wide notes

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Following its introduction of iOS 15, Apple has used its WWDC 2021 keynote to show off iPadOS 15, complete with the new ability to apply widgets to the home screen and more.

As to be expected from a WWDC keynote, Apple has outlined changes coming to its iPadOS operating system. While it includes many of the feature changes of iOS, it also has some changes aimed just at tablet users.

After debuting first on iPhone with iOS 14, Apple now allows widgets to be freely placed anywhere on your iPad's Home Screen. That includes a new extra-large widget size that takes advantage of the iPad's larger display. Apple also has several new widgets, including some for Find My, Contacts, and GameCenter.

Multitasking was also overhauled. Many of the previous gestures were replaced by a less-intimidating multitasking menu that allows users to choose between full-screen or split-screen interfaces.

Also new for multitasking is what Apple has dubbed "the shelf." The Shelf will display all open windows for any app. Other changes include the ability to create split-screen views directly from the multitasking interface and all-new keyboard shortcuts.

Apple also pointed out changes to Notes its keynote presentation as well. Shared notes support tagging other users and an activity feed to keep track of changes between users. Tags can be used to more easily sort and find your notes.

Quick Note is available system-wide by swiping up from the lower-right corner. You can type or write with Apple Pencil. Quick Notes is also contextually aware. For example, while in Safari, if you would create a Quick Note, it would include a link to the website you're currently visiting.

With iPadOS 15, Apple is bringing the Translate app to iPad. It supports split-screen and a new Auto Translate feature that will detect when you're speaking and what languages. It will then immediately translate in real-time to help facilitate multicultural communication. Users can also translate anything throughout the OS by highlighting it and tapping "translate."

With a significant update to Swift Playgrounds, users can create apps entirely on their iPad. While not as full-featured as Xcode, it is the first step in mobile app development.

Carried over from iOS 15

Along with these iPadOS-specific changes, many of the updates included in iOS 15 are also being incorporated into iPadOS 15.

This includes the new Focus status options with Notification Summary, condensing alerts down to an easy-to-digest single notification when switching modes. Do Not Disturb notifications to others in communications apps will also be shown depending on the user's status.

FaceTime's audio and video enhancements make the transfer and SharePlay and Shared with You support in Apple's apps. FaceTime Links enable cross-platform FaceTime calls, including with Android and Windows users.

Live Text, Apple's automated OCR system for the camera, will also capture text found in images used throughout the operating system, including the user's photographs and those viewed online.

Expanding Apple's new Maps experience to four more countries in 2021 is also on the cards. Users in cities will see extra information such as commercial districts and individual buildings, while landmarks will gain custom designs and a night viewing mode.

Maps also has an AR view that offers walking directions assistance when users scan nearby buildings with the camera. Driving navigation adds 3D junctions to help make it easier to understand the road layout at complex interchanges that overlap each other.

Follow all the details of WWDC 2021 with the comprehensive AppleInsider coverage of the whole week-long event from June 7 through June 11, including details of all the new launches and updates.

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