Four upgrades coming to iPad with iPadOS 18

iPadOS 17 Live Activities
(Image credit: Apple)

iPads are some of the most useful portable devices, and it's mostly down to the power of iPadOS at their core. For what, you might ask, is a computer without its operating system? Every year, we get excited to see what Apple will bring to the table when it brings the latest version of iPadOS to the table at WWDC — and this year it's no different.

The yet-to-be-released version of iPadOS in question is iPadOS 18, and there could be some big upgrades to the formula at WWDC 2024. Everything from some extra apps to more AI implementation across the board: In other words, lots to get excited about. There’s not long to wait to find out what’s coming for certain either, given that WWDC is now only a few days away on Monday, June 10th.

More AI in iPadOS

ChatGPT on iPhone with siri

(Image credit: John-Anthony Disotto)

Unless you’ve been living under a digital rock, then you’ll already know that AI is what’s on the tips of the tongues of almost everyone in tech. From journalists to CEOs, almost everyone is talking about what artificial intelligence could bring to the table for your mobile devices, and some companies, like Google and its Gemini assistant, have already started bringing it to the devices that we use.

iPadOS, much like the many rumors around iOS, is unlikely to be different. Apple has stressed the potential AI power of the M2 and M4 chips that it put in the very recently upgraded iPad Air and Pro models, pointing to where it expects its software to go. We’ve already seen some AI coming to dedicated software for the iPad, in the form of the snazzy new Session ‘musicians’ that users can pop in Logic Pro for iPad timelines — so there’s likely to be even more over WWDC.

Expect improvements to Siri, for one, the same kind of upgrades that we’re expecting from iOS. In fact, rumors point to a big Siri upgrade powered by ChatGPT, the result of a deal signed between Apple and OpenAI. 

Some new apps

Journal app iOS 17

(Image credit: Apple)

As always with a new version of the OS at the heart of the best iPads, Apple will likely be bringing some new apps to use on your iPad. Well, not new new, but new to iPad. We’ve already seen one of the apps already come to iPhone after all, in the form of the Journal App. It’ll function music like the iPhone app by the sounds of things, so expect to be able to easily and simply write journal entries and follow what you’ve been up to in your life. It’s all a part of Apple’s mental health push from the last iOS update from last year, and for some, it's been a great way of getting thoughts and feelings on paper without having to write out long entries in a physical book.

There’s also, finally, after goodness only knows how long, the Calculator app coming to iPad. That’s it, really — it’s a calculator, for doing Math, on your iPad. The only way this could go wrong is if it can’t do sums, and given it’ll probably just be a bigger version of the calculator app on your iPhone, it’ll likely be able to do sums.

Improvements to Stage Manager

iPad Pro with Stage Manager running

(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

With the latest release of the iPad Pro M4 and its accompanying aluminum-covered Magic Keyboard attachment, Apple seems to want to bring the iPad closer to that laptop replacement dream. At the heart of the issue remains Stage Manager, which many users still struggle to use with any kind of useful finesse, relegating what could be a great feature to something that’s barely touched.

Apple’s renewed focus on powerful, portable tablets with keyboards that aim squarely at laptops would lead any sane person to believe that Apple is going to unleash some fresh updates to Stage Manager to WWDC. That would bring the iPad up to scratch with the multitasking capabilities of a MacBook, and make for a more compelling touchscreen Apple laptop.

Any number of great iPhone features

Iphone Accessibility Shortcuts Hero

(Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

Given how close the two OSes are, we may well see some of the rumored features of iOS make their way over the iPadOS as well. This year looks to be a big one for iOS 18 as well, so it would be nice to see some of the new features make their way over to our bigger touchscreen devices. We might see RCS support, for example, which would make it easier for iOS and Android devices to communicate with each other. That doesn’t mean ‘no more green boxes’, of course, but it does mean great interoperability between the messaging apps of the two devices. Because iMessage comes with every iPad, RCS support is likely coming to iPadOS.

There are some great accessibility features coming to iOS as well, and we’ll hopefully see things like Magnifier, Personal Voice, and more coming to iPadOS. Some of those app updates coming to iOS could be coming as well, although we're not sure which ones would be most likely to make their way over just yet.

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Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.