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iOS 9 on the iPad Air 2

iOS 9 is now available to download as a public beta. Should you decide to explore it (my recommendation: do this only on a non-primary device that you've backed up), Apple's latest OS has a number of iPad-optimizing features we've awaited for years.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Split View

For iPad Air 2 owners only, you can run two apps side by side at last. There are already tablets that can do this (Samsung, Microsoft, etc.), but it's nice to see it on the iPad.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Split View

Apps snap in place in two set configurations; you can adjust the size of each by sliding.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Slide Over

A related cousin to Split View, but it runs on other iPads, too. You can swipe an app from the side and have it pop up to quickly write a message or check an email, then pop back to what you were doing.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Slide Over

Slide Over works a bit like a side-loading dock.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Onscreen trackpad

Behold, the onscreen keyboard now doubles as a trackpad! Hold down two fingers, and suddenly you can slide the cursor around and easily select text without reaching up to tap.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Picture-in-picture video

Another iPad Air 2-only feature, this lets you pop a video out of its app and float while you're working on another app somewhere else. Samsung's recent Note tablets have this feature, too.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Picture-in-picture video

A tiny movie, floating in the middle of my home screen.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

News

Apple also has a new News app. It's a news reader, much like other news-consolidating apps like Flipboard. Right now, it's hard to tell what it brings to the table.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Other iOS 9 features, too

There are lots of other iOS 9 features of note, including improved Siri, better promised battery life, and a more Evernote-like Notes app. Read all about them here.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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