One disadvantage of using an iPad is the woeful native PDF experience. Sure, it is suitable for looking at a PDF file and flipping through the pages, but editing it or collaborative sharing? You have to install Adobe Acrobat or a cloud storage solution. Things will dramatically change with the new Smart PDF feature found on the latest iPad OS 17, which is currently in developer beta and will be released to the public this fall.
With its machine learning technology, iPad OS 17 can identify fields in a PDF so that you can fill them out quickly; this is big for people who rely on apps to do this. You can sign documents, fill out an application form or even make patient notes; the possibilities are endless. The iPad will soon be your daily driver for all things PDF.
Some of the most exciting PDF upgrades come inside the Notes app. You can access multiple PDFs within one note. If you’re collaborating with another iPad OS 17 user, you can make edits, Apple Pencil notes or other changes that update immediately on each device. The user experience seems similar to working with a fellow student on a homework assignment in Google Docs; only the functionality with Apple Pencil could be extra helpful in annotating documents or taking notes with coworkers or classmates. This feature, called Live Collaboration, can be used remotely. It also can be used in conjunction with a FaceTime call.
I like that Apple is revising the PDF experience on all of the modern iPads that will support iPad OS 17. The field feature is going to be huge, with native support for all PDF documents. Real-time updates when sharing a note with others is also a boon. Marking up a document, draw a diagram, or add a sticker, the changes you make appear live on your collaborator’s device.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.