iOS and iPadOS 17: The MacStories Review

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Well, past twelvemonth was weird.

For nan first clip since I started writing yearly reviews of Apple’s 2 mobile operating systems – iOS and iPadOS – I published a review without nan iPad part. Or rather: I had to people it a period later fixed nan messiness Apple recovered itself successful pinch Stage Manager for iPadOS 16 and its half-baked, embarrassing debut.

I don’t want to spell complete nan specifics of that full saga again and really we sewage to a shipping type of Stage Manager for iPadOS 16 that didn’t meet my expectations. Spoiler alert: arsenic we’ll spot later successful this review, Apple listened to feedback and fixed nan astir glaring issues of Stage Manager successful iPadOS 17, striking nan equilibrium betwixt “guided multitasking” and freeform model placement that was missing from past year’s debut. Stage Manager for iPadOS 16 will stay different blip successful nan iPad’s agelong and storied history of ill-fated multitasking features. There’s nary request to talk astir it again.

I want to explain, however, why nan past 12 months person been different than accustomed successful iOS and iPadOS onshore beyond nan truth that I couldn’t activity connected my iPad Pro for nan first half of 2023.1

Following nan motorboat of iOS 16 pinch its Lock Screen widgets and aft Apple wrapped up activity connected nan past big-ticket point connected nan iOS 16 roadmap (Live Activities for nan Lock Screen and Dynamic Island, which launched successful precocious October), it felt for illustration nan full Apple organization only started reasoning astir 1 merchandise for nan adjacent six months: nan headset. What would later beryllium known arsenic nan Vision Pro and visionOS platform became the taxable of speech successful Apple-related publications, podcasts, and YouTube channels. Leading up to WWDC 2023, anticipation surrounding nan upcoming headset eclipsed thing related to different platforms.

And rightfully so. As I explained successful nan story that I wrote aft I was capable to effort a Vision Pro astatine Apple Park, nan excitement was justified. It’s ever a uncommon occurrence for Apple to present a caller hardware merchandise pinch associated package platform; but to do truthful pinch a mind-blowing acquisition dissimilar thing I ever tried earlier successful my life is genuinely thing special. Apple had been moving connected visionOS and Vision Pro for years, and we were each reasoning astir it and waiting for it astatine WWDC. And nan institution delivered.

This discourse is basal because nan visionOS/Vision Pro improvement timeline explains what’s going connected pinch iOS and iPadOS 17 this year. Both OSes are grab-bag style updates pinch a postulation of invited enhancements to different areas of experience. I quipped years agone that modern iOS updates request to person a small spot of everything for everyone; that has ne'er been much existent than pinch iOS 17, albeit for a different logic this time: astir likely, because Apple didn’t person clip to besides present big, vision-altering upgrades connected nan iPhone this year.

iOS and iPadOS return a spot of a secondary domiciled successful 2023, happily conceding nan spotlight to a caller package level that hasn’t launched yet, but which developers astir nan world are already testing successful person.

To beryllium clear, I americium not complaining. iOS and iPadOS 17 whitethorn not person an industry-defining, evident tentpole feature, but successful their attack to offering various improvements, they’re nosy and absorbing to cover. Of nan two, iPadOS is nan 1 that suffered from deficiency of improvement resources nan astir and whose strategy could beryllium easy summed up arsenic “it’s iPadOS 16, but we fixed Stage Manager”. Which, again, fixed nan circumstances, is perfectly good pinch me.

While Apple was engaged pinch visionOS this summer, I was having nosy exploring iOS 17’s postulation of app updates and, arsenic we’ll spot successful this review, extended upgrades to 1 strategy feature: widgets.

As ever each year: let’s dive in.

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