Another day, another round of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS 12 beta releases for developers to take for a spin. Like in previous years, everyone's keen to see what's changed. Unlike most years though, this year's focus is on Safari and whether Apple has undone the mistakes it made in previous betas. It already fixed things over on the Mac, but it seems unwilling to do it on iPad. Despite there being some improvements.
As those who have been quick to install the update have noted, Safari has improved with the release of iPadOS 15 beta 4, and things are looking positive. We aren't out of the woods yet and Safari on iPad still needs some work. But it's the insistence of someone inside Apple to keep the broken tab bar around as an option that's most concerning to me. It's a sign that someone inside Apple won't let go. A sign that someone inside Apple still thinks that iPadOS 15 should have the Safari that shipped in previous betas and, as almost everyone reading this will surely agree, they're wrong.
I can understand someone at Apple thinking that the new-old tab design was the way forward and I can almost understand it surviving to beta four before being killed off. But the fact you can still enable the compact tab bar suggests that someone thinks people actually want to use it or worse, believes it's the way Safari should be and that we're all wrong. That's a scary proposition because we all know Apple is more than capable of going against the crowd and shipping a broken Safari on principle.
It'd be a "brave" move the likes of which we haven't seen since Apple ditched the headphone jack. It got that one right — I'm not so sure it's right about this one. Safari will still be the best iPad web browser around, but it'll cause a few to offer an admiring glance in the direction of the competition.
If someone inside Apple is still convinced that the new-old tab bar was the way to go, that's cool. But take a beat. Take a year. Iterate, refine, and try again. But please — and I can't stress this enough — please don't try to shoehorn a bad idea into iPadOS 15 proper this fall. Option or not, it just shouldn't be there until it's ready.
Who knows — maybe by the time iPadOS 16 rolls around next year, it will be.