The iPad has always been in a strange place, with some of the apps commonly found on PCs, but still missing some common desktop features. Apple is trying to close that gap with the upcoming iPadOS 16 update.
Apple showed off the upcoming updates to iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 at WWDC, and the latter has plenty of multitasking improvements for the iPad. The main update is ‘Stage Manager’, a feature also included in the next macOS update, which organizes currently open apps in a new panel on the left side of the multitasking screen. You can tap an app from the Stage Manager to switch to it, or drag an app to place it on top of your currently open app, the first time iPad has supported overlapping app windows.
Stage Manager is also at the core of iPad’s new external display capabilities. Before now, iPads could only mirror their screens to an external screen, or some apps could override them with their own views (for example, a presentation app could display slides on an external screen). Multiscreen now works more like Windows and macOS, with the ability to move windows between different screens with Stage Manager.
The new external display functionality is much closer to the various attempts at mobile/desktop convergence over the past decade, such as Samsung DeX and Windows 10 Mobile Convergence. However, unlike DeX and Windows 10 Convergence, all screens share the same general interface.
Apple will release the new functionality in iPadOS 16 later this year.