Happy Operating System Season

And here you thought pumpkin spice was for fall, no it’s operating system season! Yesterday Apple released iOS and iPadOS Version 15, and coming up October is Android Version 12, Windows 11, and MacOS Monterey. Three companies (Apple, Google, Microsoft) and three platforms (smartphone, tablets, desktop/laptop).

I installed iPadOS Version 15 on my iPad Mini yesterday and I haven’t spent a significant enough time with it yet. So far it’s a mixed bag. For example, being able to place widgets on the home screen makes them a bunch more useful, but the tradeoff is a decrease in the number of icons per line that display. My old iPad Mini has a quarter inch bezel followed by a half inch of empty space on the left and right side of the screen. I fear this is going to look worse on the iPad Air.

Of course, iPhone owners have had widgets and App Library since last year, so this is not new to them. I don’t own an iPhone, but so far I wonder whether they see much new in this version of iOS.

For some reason I like how the App Library flys up from the lower right of the screen. I do think App Library is a better way to manage applications than has existed prior, just wish I could edit what Apple does automatically to tailor the result. I suspect the larger icons in each group were determined to be the most frequently used app of that group, do they change over time?

The changes of widgets and App Library create questions of what icons to place on the home screen if any, given the dock. Tapping the widgets launches the associated app, so they serve that purpose in addition to providing information. I probably don’t need any icons but so far I have kept six: Mail, Safari, Streaks, Notes, NetNewsWire and Pocket. Another decision is, what to do with the “old page” that displays when you swipe right from the left edge? The widgets on the home screen don’t need to also be there, so there is some changes to be made.

What else? I know the changes to how multitasking works is significant, but I won’t fully experience that until I upgrade the iPad Air. This is the fun of operating system season, discovering new “gifts” and hoping they aren’t lumps of coal.

Frank McPherson @frankm
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