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The iPad continues to evolve: what does this mean for your website?

In 2019, the days when the iPad would simply be derided as “a large iPhone” appear to be even further fading into the distance. Apple has continued to refine the iPad line over the years, culminating in the recent unveiling of “iPadOS” – an iPad-dedicated operating system at long last.

This move finally untethers the iPad’s operating system from its origins as smartphone-optimised software – and, for iPad users, could even unleash previously untapped potential in your website.

Introducing iPadOS

In the opening keynote of its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month, Apple told the spectators that iPads aren’t in line for iOS 13, the update intended for iPhones this autumn. That’s because the slates are instead getting iPadOS…

Especially excitingly, it now looks like, on the iPad, websites will be displayed and be practically functional in much the same ways as they have routinely been on desktop and laptop computers.

How will the web-surfing experience work in practice?

As Apple has released the beta of iPadOS 13, you will now be able to sample it for yourself, assuming that you are enrolled in the relevant beta program and own an iPad released in 2015 or later. However, if you tick neither box, it’s still easy to see various merits of iPadOS 13.

Apple has claimed that even Google Docs will work well in the iPad’s stock web browser Safari. This is bound to please, given the limited use of the Google Docs iPad app, to which you would typically be redirected from the iPad’s Safari even if you tried to reach the desktop site in that browser.

Things have improved in this area due to Apple changing the browser’s “user agent” – which tells websites exactly what browser it is – to Safari’s desktop version. Hence, on iPad, websites will no longer automatically show their mobile versions – ideal if your own site has a mobile version.

How should you prepare your website for iPadOS?

Though you no longer have to worry about the prospect of iPad users landing on your mobile site and then fumbling for a “view desktop site” link, you probably shouldn’t still have separate desktop and mobile versions of your site, if indeed this is the case with you.

Consider switching to what is known as a responsive web design – so-called as it will automatically readjust its elements, like images, videos and text, in reaction to the device display’s dimensions. Hence, you can give yourself just one web design to maintain, rather than contend with two.

With iPadOS 13 increasing the iPad’s viability as a fully-fledged computer, you could find the number of iPad-using visitors to your website increasing. That’s good news if you would like to, say, start accepting digital signatures on your site, as they can be easier to write on a screen thanks to the Apple Pencil accessory, with which all currently in-production iPads are compatible.

Our web design gurus can help you with implementing a responsive web design, digital signature interfaces and other iPad-friendly features.

The iPad continues to evolve: what does this mean for your website?
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