iPadOS won’t launch until well after iOS 13

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Apple CEO Tim Cook with iPad
Apple CEO Tim Cook talked up new features in iPadOS 13 at yesterday’s press event..
Screenshot: Apple

iOS 13 will debut next week, but tablet users will have to wait a bit longer for the iPad equivalent. Apple says iPadOS 13 won’t debut until the end of this month.

That launch date suggests that the company will go straight to iOS 13.1.

“iPad OS is an advanced operating system with a new name to recognize the distinctive experience of iPad,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook at a press event yesterday. “Of course iPad iOS builds on the same same foundation as iOS, but as powerful new capabilities and intuitive features that are specific to the large display and versatility of the iPad.”

iPadOS is starting with version 13 to reflect that it’s being forked off iOS 13. Both were announced at WWDC in June, and new beta versions for each debuted in lockstep throughout the summer.

iOS and iPadOS go their separate ways

That synchronicity has come to an end, however. The iOS 13 Golden Master was released to developers yesterday. This is the version that every iPhone user will be able to install on September 19.

iPad developers got iOS 13.1 Developer beta 3 instead. There was no mention of an iPadOS 13 GM. And Apple’s webpage devoted to IOS 13 clearly states “Available 9.30.”

Not coincidentally, the iPhone maker will introduce iOS 13.1 on that same date, Sept. 30. Given that timing, it seems likely that Apple intends to skip iPadOS 13 and start with iOS 13.1.

What to look forward to in iPadOS 13.1

Tablet fans will get some substantial enhancements in the next operating system upgrade, with iPadOS 13 allowing multiple windows to be opened by the same application. There’s also mouse support and full access to external drives. That latter feature is especially useful with the 2018 iPad Pro’s USB-C port.

There are many other improvements coming as well, including Dark Mode.

The 13.1 version offers some features that were originally in version 13 but were taken out early in the beta process, including Shortcuts automations.