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iPadOS 15 gets homescreen widgets, better multitasking

Can an iPad replace your Mac?

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Alongside iOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS 15, Apple also unveiled its operating system for the iPad lineup — iPadOS 15. The new software update adds a tonne of new features that make the iPad a solid tool for work and play.

First off is a redesigned home screen that now supports widgets, just like iOS 14 did on the iPhone. There are also widgets for more apps than before, and they now come in different sizes than they did before. The new widgets for iPadOS include Find My, Contacts, Parcels, and Game Center.

The iPad is also getting the App Library, which is basically an App Drawer in Android’s glossary. It also sorts your apps into categories, so this is a good way to keep all your tools organized. The App Library is built right into the Dock, always a touch away.

The biggest addition for power users is an improved multitasking experience. The user can switch between Split View or Slide Over, and new shortcuts have been added to ensure switching between the two is seamless and instant.

In Split View, you can swipe down to replace an app with a new one for either side of the screen. It’ll also work with apps that have multiple windows. On the other hand, Slide Over display lets you access all open windows for any given app. This can come in handy when multiple Safari windows need to be dealt with in one go.

The Notes app now supports shared notes, so you can tag someone with an @, use hashtags to categorize, and see a timeline of all activities on the note. For those random note yet immediate note-taking moments, Quick Note can be summoned from the corner of the screen with the Apple Pencil.

Safari has received a major overhaul on all Apple’s operating systems, and the same extends to iPadOS. It now has a new minimal UI bar that puts tabs and the browser URL bar on the same row. The user can set up new tab groups, and there’s finally support for web extensions, just like macOS.

FaceTime has a variety of improvements, and the biggest of them is a feature called SharePlay that allows you to listen to songs together over Apple Music or watch TV shows in sync. It’s similar to last year’s Netflix Party but now deeply embedded within the Apple ecosystem.

Apple confirmed iPadOS 15 would be rolling out to compatible iPads in Fall 2021 — roughly around September or October.

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Instagram will start to put ads on a user’s profile

And on the Explore page

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Ads are everywhere. Several platforms are testing where and how much they can put without raising a lot of fuss from their users. On a few occasions, a platform can cross the line, prompting a wave of reprisals. Instagram, for example, backtracked on a controversial decision to pump out more recommended posts and ads after massive backlash. Despite the recency of the controversy, Instagram is back again with another ad-fueled decision: ads on user profiles.

This week, Meta announced that two more types of ads are coming to Instagram. The first type is a natural extension of what the platform already has. Instead of hiding video ads deep within the Explore section, these short videos will start popping up right on the section’s landing page. Since the section already has ads, it might not be as intrusive, especially when compared to the second type.

Besides a new spot in the Explore feed, Instagram is also adding ads to a user’s profile. Likely to a lot of users’ dismay, it is what it says on the tin. Offering some consolation, the platform won’t spoil a profile’s grid with an ad. Instead, when a user clicks on a post on the profile, the vertical feed, which usually shows a timeline of the profile’s content, will contain spots for ads.

Instagram has not officially confirmed which users will get the feature. However, the company is currently testing it for select creators. It also assures users that it will come only on public profiles, not private individuals.

SEE ALSO: You can snooze recommended posts on Instagram

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YouTube might ask users to pay to watch in 4K

In testing phase

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Despite offering a mostly free service, YouTube is finding new ways to monetize parts of its platform. Now, ads are a lot more prevalent while watching videos. A less popular way is gating some features behind the platform’s YouTube Premium banner. YouTube is trying it once again, though. The platform is currently testing whether to keep 4K viewing behind a paywall.

With the capabilities of displays today, YouTube and its creators can offer content in stunning 4K resolution. Though not everyone can enjoy the feature, 4K viewing was a welcome one.

However, as spotted by some users on social media (via TechCrunch), the video-sharing site is reportedly making the viewing option exclusive for Premium users. The company has not officially announced any change yet. However, YouTube’s other accounts on Twitter replied to some concerned users on the site, citing an “experiment” to test what works for Premium and non-Premium users.

The company is still gathering responses to the experiment. However, if the initial social media response is any indication, a good chunk of YouTube’s users isn’t pleased with having to pay more to enjoy high-quality content.

Currently, YouTube Premium comes at US$ 11.99 per month for interested customers. The paid subscription offers ad-free viewing and offline viewing. If the company sees some progress with the experiment, they might ad 4K viewing to Premium’s mix.

SEE ALSO: YouTube has quietly launched a Podcasts hub

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Xiaomi 12T series now official

The brand’s latest flagship

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Xiaomi 12T Pro

Xiaomi announced the global launch of its latest smartphones: The Xiaomi 12T and Xiaomi 12T Pro.

The pair is set to rival other phones in the flagship category. The Xiaomi 12T Pro is powered by an SM8475 Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 (4nm) processor. Meanwhile the standard 12T houses a Dimensity 8100-Ultra (5nm) chipset.

Both phones have a 5,000mAh battery and support Xiaomi’s 120W HyperCharge which can promise 100 percent charging in just 19 minutes, and 13.5 hours of screen-on time.

The 12T Pro has up to 12GB RAM for seamless performance, on top of a 256GB internal memory while the 12T isn’t that far behind with an 8GB RAM and the same storage capacity.

The devices also have a 6.67-inch AMOLED HDR10+ screen which comes with a 120Hz refresh rate and supports Dolby Vision and AdaptiveSync. In addition, the Pro model has an IP53 dust and splash resistance rating.

Exceptional smartphone photography

When it comes to photography, the 12T Pro features a pro-grade 200MP camera which has a large 1/1.22-inch sensor. It is capable of filming 8K videos and 4K at up to 60fps.

The 12T has a 108MP main shooter that can also record 4K videos and standard HD clips in 60fps.

With Xiaomi’s ProCut and Ultra burst, as well as advanced AI algorithms, smartphone photography will definitely be taken to the next level. Both devices likewise have 20MP selfie cameras.

Price and availability

In Singapore, the Xiaomi 12T Pro starts at SG$ 1,099 while the Xiaomi 12T retails for SG$749.

Pricing and availability details in the Philippines have yet to be revealed.

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