Apple’s iPad Is Getting Even More Mac-Like

Apple’s continued lack of a Mac-like experience for the iPad Pro had resulted in speculation that the company was deliberating limiting its tablets’ capabilities in order to avoid cutting into MacBook Air sales. The newly introduced iPadOS 16 features dash those allegations, however, by specifically targeting the segment of consumers who want a more desktop-like experience with the iPad Pro, but combined with the highly convenient form factor and unique usage scenarios made possible by a tablet. 

Apple emphasized collaboration as a key upgrade in the next major version of its iPad operating system, and Messages plays an important role in that. According to the company, users will be able to share content with other users across Apple’s productivity and office apps — Files, Pages, etc. — in addition to select third-party offerings. This means that, for example, multiple people will be able to participate in refining the same presentation by accepting an invite sent through Messages. The messaging app is used to share updates about the content and allow users to chat with each other, though Apple notes that FaceTime can also be used for the same sort of real-time collaborative communication.

As part of this, Apple has a new app designed around collaboration. Freeform, as it’s called, functions as a sort of blank canvas upon which many people can work together on projects — and, since it’s for the iPad, it includes Apple Pencil support.

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