iPadOS 17 is inextricably tied to iOS 17 for better or worse, but with the best tablets comes great leftovers, you know what I’m saying? We’re anticipating that the iPad 2023 (11th Gen) might launch with iPadOS 17, so we’ll naturally tangle with iPad rumors as well.
There are only a handful of rumors surrounding the iPadOS 17 so far, and with nothing official yet, it’s hard to say which to believe. Will iPadOS 17 draw ever closer to its iOS sibling, or will it actually do something different for tablets?
Here’s everything we know so far about iPadOS 17, from the rumored release date to the features and supported devices.
iPadOS 17 release date
We don’t have an official release date for iPadOS 17, but considering Apple’s recent track record, we have a pretty good idea of when it might launch.
iPadOS 13 launched on September 24, 2019, and in the following years, iPadOS 14 and iPadOS 15 hit a similar September launch window, while iPadOS 16 hit on October 24, 2022. It’s more than likely that we can expect iPadOS 17 sometime between September and October of 2023.
Apple will also release versions of the OS via the Apple Beta Software program. Look for that announcement at WWDC 2023 in June, with developer betas arriving first and public betas in the following months leading up to its full release.
iPadOS 17 supported devices
Sorry, folks — if your iPad is old enough to drive, it’s probably not making the cut for iPadOS 17.
According to the French news site iPhoneSoft, an “internal source at Apple” claimed that three iPad models would be stuck with iPadOS 16 when iPadOS 17 “arrives this fall.” The source claims that the products in question are the 2017 5th-gen iPad, the 2016 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and the 2015 1st-gen 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
Of course, we can’t confirm this ourselves, but if you have one of the iPads listed above, it’s likely you’ll have to upgrade your iPad if you want to experience whatever is coming to iPadOS 17.
iPadOS 17 features
There are a number of features we’re expecting to see in iPadOS 17, but there’s still a lot we don’t know.
iPadOS 17 will likely introduce third-party app stores in accordance with a new European Union mandate (via Bloomberg). However, the rules won’t be enforced until 2024, so technically Apple has some time.
“Software engineering and service employees are engaged in a major push to open up key elements of Apple’s platforms, according to people familiar with the efforts,” Bloomberg journalist and Apple insider Mark Gurman said.
To top off the EU’s Digital Markets Act is likely going to be a wave of third-party browsers like Chrome and Firefox, which should now be able to use their own engines as opposed to the Apple WebKit variant.
There have also been rumors that, according to Analyst941 on Twitter (who previously leaked info about iOS 17 and watchOS 10), suggest there is a “special version of iPadOS 17, being developed specifically for larger iPad Pro/Ultra/Studio model(s).”
While iPadOS has been taking the leftovers from iOS for a long time, it doesn’t always scoop up everything. For example, iOS 16 dropped with revamped Lock Screen features that let you add widgets and dynamic images, but iPadOS wasn’t good enough for that apparently. It’s likely that Lock Screen customization would come to iPadOS this time around.
Another rumor we’ve seen floating around is actually about iOS 17, involving an updated version of the Control Center. And it’s entirely possible that it will make it over to iPadOS 17 too. Or not. Who really knows in this complex sharing battle between siblings.
iPadOS 17 has the opportunity to shine on the latest iPads, but it needs to step out of the shadow of iOS. I hope we get to see some features exclusive to iPads in the next OS update. We have all of that screen for a reason, and potentially an even larger-screen iPad Pro coming, let’s use it for something, Apple. If you want consumers to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for your overpriced tablets, then stop having your tablets play catch up with your equally overpriced phones.
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