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(Pocket-lint) - It leaked out this morning, but now it's official: The iPad is getting its own operating system, called iPadOS.

“We have some big changes coming to iPad,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s software chief, while on stage. He said Apple built a new OS based on iOS for its lineup of tablets. Apple has long positioned the iPad as a computer replacement, touting features like split screen and slide over. But iPadOS kicks this up a notch with a new home screen featuring widgets that can expand alongside app icons.

Apple is also adding new multitasking gestures so you can slide between multiple apps and drag and drop apps side by side. There's a new Expose-like way to view apps, too. Other new features include an improved Files app with a column view - just like Finder  has in MacOS! There’s an information pane even. The Files app will also support thumb drives, while iCloud Drive supports folder sharing.

We really love the thumb drive support; you'll be able to plug them into an iPad and get access to files via the new Files app. That'll go a long ways in speeding up your workflow. Apple is also updating Safari browser for iPadOS with desktop-level browsing and a download manager. To go along with all this, there will 30 new keyboard shortcuts and new options for photo uploads and text size.

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Apple revealed it's adding fonts to the App Store, and it's streamlining its copy-and-paste feature so you use three fingers to pinch to copy and a three-finger move to paste. Lastly, Apple boosted Apple Pencil latency from 20ms to 9ms, and the standard tool palette will work with third-party apps. Also, if you drag the Pencil from the corner of an iPad, it will grab a screenshot for you to marking up.

The developer preview of iPadOS is now available to Apple Developer Program members, while a public beta program will be available later this month. It will fully launch this autumn for iPad Air 2 and later, all iPad Pro models, iPad fifth-generation and later, and iPad Mini 4 and later. 

These are the big highlights Apple previewed while talking about iPadOS. We're at the event and hope to bring you a closer look soon.

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Apple's WWDC 2019 conference takes places in San Jose, California from Monday 3 June to Friday 7 June at the McEnery Convention Center with the Apple keynote starting on Monday 10am PT (on 3 June). It usually lasts between 1- 2 hours with the company covering a lot of ground.

To watch it for yourself, check out Pocket-lint's guide on Apple WWDC 2019: How to watch and what to expect.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.