A new patent hints at a macOS mode for iPad – but don’t hold your breath


A patent has been discovered where docking an iPad to a keyboard accessory would enable a macOS mode, with floating windows and more.

As WWDC 2022 approaches, rumors about what iPadOS 16 might feature have been light, which could mean two things. Either it will be a muted update or we will see a major overhaul.

We’ll most likely see the first, with a focus on speed and bug fixes for the iPad in 2022. But that doesn’t stop us thinking about where iPadOS could to go.

A macOS mode when an iPad is rooted makes a lot of sense, but it could also confuse users as to where the hardware lineup is.

It’s time for a big iPadOS change

Patent presenting a macOS mode on iPad

(Image credit: Apple Patent)

The iPad has had a confusing time in recent years, with Apple renaming its software to iPadOS, while adhering to the same design principles as iOS since its debut in 2007.

While iPadOS 15 brought a big improvement to the home screen with the ability to place widgets on it, it wasn’t mind-blowing. That’s partly why I sold my iPad Pro and still settle for a 14-inch MacBook Pro, but I think the tablet’s potential is always there.

This is why I approach this patent with concern. Usually patents are filed to protect the inventor, and there is a 50/50 chance that these features will be implemented.

Still, seeing a macOS-like mode optional for the iPad is an enticing thought. But this opens a Pandora’s box:

  • Which iPad models will be enabled to use this feature?
  • Would it switch to macOS only when the iPad is docked?
  • What if you need to quickly switch between modes?
  • Would some features be exclusive in macOS mode?

It’s time to say goodbye to the iPad Pro

Patent presenting a macOS mode on iPad

(Image credit: Apple Patent)

Along with this, the iPad range is also confusing in the features they all offer. In 2015, the Apple Pencil could only be used with the iPad Pro – now it’s all but the cheapest iPad.

However, while the iPad Pro has ProMotion, a feature that allows the display to run at 120Hz, speakers around the tablet, and Face ID, there’s little to entice you to upgrade to this. highest level of iPad.

Maybe macOS mode would be better for this iPad instead, but it’s time to see a name change for this tier if the feature comes along. iPad Studio might work, as the name implies creating projects, but being able to take them anywhere and switch between certain modes, which Mac Studio can’t, might be appealing to many.

But again, there’s little chance we’ll see this patent come to fruition anytime soon, if at all. The iPad Pro should stand out from the iPhone and other iPads, but there is a risk that resorting to a macOS mode could confuse users as to what the tablet is really useful for and how it might benefit them at long term.

Going through Apple obviously

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