As usual, Apple is unveiling a major set of updates for iPadOS. This year, we're on to iPadOS 17, and as expected it features a host of changes that have already been shown of for the iPhone in iOS 17, plus some updates specific to the tablet.
For starters, widgets are now interactive, which means you can update them and take actions without necessarily jumping right into the app. You can start playing music via the Music widget, check off reminders, update smart home features and so forth.
Unsurprisingly, iPadOS 17 is also getting the lock screen redesign that Apple pushed to the iPhone last year with iOS 16. This lets you add widgets to the home screen, assign different focus modes to specific wallpapers, change the fonts of the clock and text and more. There's also a pretty cool Live Photo feature that animates your wallpaper when you wake the iPad. Finally, Live Activities are coming to the iPad, which lets apps give you real-time updates on the lock screen — like seeing sports scores update or where your food delivery order is.
Apple is also bringing the Health app to the iPad for the first time. Naturally, it syncs data from the Health app on your phone and Apple Watch, but it looks like you can use it standalone as well if you don't have that other hardware. Of course, the app has been totally redesigned to work on the iPad's larger screen, and it includes new Health features like the mental health tracking tools Apple discussed when introducing the watchOS 10 update.
PDF support is coming to the Notes app, which might not sound like the most exciting thing ever. But Notes is a pretty powerful app, and having it host PDFs for annotation could be quite useful. There's even a live collaboration feature that lets two people work on a shared PDF at the same time, and changes are reflected as both of you work. Thus far, you've only really been able to work with PDFs in the Files app on the iPad, and having them in the Notes app seems like a better experience from the short preview we had.
Stage Manager is getting some improvements, too, giving you more flexibility for placing windows. This feature was a key bit of iPadOS 16, and it's good to see that Apple is answering some requests that people have had over the year. And if you plug your iPad into an external monitor with a camera, iPadOS will let you use that camera for video calls.
As usual, iPadOS 17 will arrive for consumers this fall, but a developer beta will be available today. A public beta, meanwhile, should be available sometime in July.
Follow all of the news from Apple's WWDC 2023 right here.