iOS 11 is a big step forward for the iPhone, but many of its biggest new features are reserved for the iPad. In our review of the iPad Pro 10.5-inch, we mentioned that it’s an excellent tablet that was being held back a little bit by iOS 10. Apple had already announced iOS 11 when the iPad Pro 10.5-inch was unveiled, and now the OS is available as a free update. We used it on our iPad Pro 10.5-inch to see if iOS 11 is indeed the major leap forward that Apple promised.
The first and most important change in iOS 11 is the dock. You can now add up to 13 apps to the dock in iOS 11 (15 on the 12.9-inch iPad), with three more Siri-suggested apps appearing on the right. This makes iOS 11’s dock much like that on the Mac. On the Mac we use the dock to pin our favourite apps and to launch them quickly and now on iOS 11 on our iPad, we were able to do the same thing just as well, now that it’s no longer restricted to just six apps.
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There are also some nice keyboard shortcuts to help you access the dock even when you are using another app. Pressing CMD + option + D will show or hide the dock even if you are using other apps and it works with any Bluetooth keyboard and Apple’s Smart Keyboard. This was particularly useful for multitasking, as we’d often fire up the dock and then quickly open a second app alongside the current app. We’d often need to refer something online while writing, so Safari and Ulysses open side by side was our favourite combination. You can choose whether you want one app occupying 75 percent of the screen, or whether you want both at 50 percent. This is as easy as swiping on the screen – just hold the border between the two apps running side by side and slide it across to either side depending on which one needs more screen space.
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At the moment, some apps are a bit buggy and don’t necessarily work quite as well as you’d like them to. This is not Apple’s fault, but to a large extent the iOS 11 experience will depend on how well developers embrace all the new iPad-specific features on the platform. One bug with Slack in particular annoyed us to no end. We have a habit of having Slack open alongside other apps such as Outlook or Messages. People keep sharing links on Slack and we’d click the link to read the piece. Since we usually have Slack taking up only 25 percent of the screen, we’d click the link and then expand Slack to 75 percent of the screen. However, resizing would make the in-app Safari view disappear, and we had to click the link again. It took us quite some time to train ourselves to expand Slack first and then to click links.