When Apple’s iPads first launched, they were basically oversized iPhones running a barely modified version of the iPhone operating system. But over time, Apple has added a growing number of iPad-specific features and spun out the operating system as iPadOS.

Now Apple is introducing iPadOS 14. In addition to support for the same features coming to iOS 14 (including widgets and an App Library), there are some new features specific to iPads including an updated UI for key apps including Photos, Notes, Files, Music, and Calendar.

Apple is releasing an iPadOS 14 developer preview today. A beta release is scheduled for July, and the software should roll out to everyone with a supported iPad this fall.

For example, there’s a new Sidebar element that shows up in those apps, giving you a new way to navigate. There are also new toolbars atop the apps, giving you quicker access to key functions — and making some tablet apps feel more like desktop apps.

Apple says Search has also been updated in iPadOS, allowing you to launch apps, bring up contacts, or visit websites by entering a few letters to bring up a list of suggestions.

The new version of iPadOS also brings new Apple Pencil features including support for “Scribble,” which lets you use Apple’s stylus to enter text in any field thanks to automatic handwriting recognition which converts your chicken scratch to text.

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  1. I enjoy hating on Apple for a hobby, but the Scribble handwriting recognition thing… the future is finally here! This is the most obvious and long-overdue feature of any tablet with a pen. If I have a pen, I don’t want to use to write in a pop-up virtual keyboard. Let me write in that damned input box already!

    Will I buy an iPad just for this? No. But I do hope this catches on with everyone else, and quickly. I’m especially looking at you, chromebook tablet!

      1. I’ve still got a PocketPC in the closet. As well as a Palm PC. Gotta break those out and see if they still work.