Look how powerful iPad Home screen widgets could be if Apple did them right

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iPad Home screen widgets should be free to roam
An concept design shows how iPad Home screen widgets ought to work. And that’s just the start.
Photo: Parker Ortolani

Unfortunately, iPad got a watered-down version of the new iPhone Home screen widgets. But a concept designer cooked up some innovative suggestions for how this feature should be integrated into the user interface for future Apple tablets.

Not stopping there, he proposed an alternative way to bring iOS 14’s App Library to iPadOS and suggested a new Pro Menu. The designs come from Parker Ortolani, who showed off his suggestions via Twitter.

iPad Home screen widgets should be free to roam

Home screen widgets in iPadOS 14 can only be placed along the left edge. On iOS 14, they can go anywhere, giving iPhone users far more options.

Ortolani’s first suggestion is fairly obvious: Give iPad users the same flexibility iPhone users have. But he goes beyond that, also proposing a Widget Tray. Like the Dock, this would be available when running any application.

An iPadOS Widget Tray expands widgets beyond the Home screen.
The iPadOS Widget Tray would give access to these mini-apps from anywhere.
Photo: Parker Ortolani

Another new feature of iOS 14 is the App Library, which automatically organizes software in one portion of the Home screen. It’s cool, but it’s not coming to iPad users. Ortolani would like to see that changed. Instead of the App Library being an additional screen off to the right of the Home screen, he proposes placing a button in the Dock that opens a tray holding the App Library.

What is the App Library wasn’t off to the right?
This iPadOS concept floats the idea of a very different placement for the iPhone’s App Library.
Photo: Parker Ortolani

He also suggests what he calls the “Pro Menu.” A bit like the Control Center, this would let iPad users “check notifications, jump into settings, restart your iPad on the fly, and more,” according to the designer.

The iPad Pro Menu would be mostly for pros.
The Pro Menu is a proposed feature with shortcuts to functions hard-core users frequently need..
Photo: Parker Ortolani

Why wait for iPadOS 15?

Ortolani calls this an iPadOS 15 concept, indicating he doesn’t think Apple could add any of these features to its tablets before autumn 2021. But it might not take that long for some of them.

These days, the iPad-maker doesn’t wait for a whole new OS version to make fairly significant modifications. iPadOS 13.4 brought a complete rework of trackpad/mouse support, for example.

Removing the limitation on Home screen widget placement is such an obvious change that Apple might not wait until iPadOS 15. The same goes for the App Library.

This isn’t the first we’ve heard from Ortolani. Just after Apple announced its acquisition of the Dark Sky weather application, the designer drew up a concept combining Dark Sky with Apple’s own Weather app.

Source: Parker Ortolani/Twitter