By: Michael H. Payne
The iPad Pro, as I and many others have previously stated, is a much better content manager than content creator. There is no question that drafting a legal memorandum, contract or a lengthy letter is best performed using a computer with a conventional keyboard. Once documents are created, regardless of whether they are PDF files, Microsoft Word files or countless other file types, the iPad Pro shines in storing, organizing, finding and facilitating review of those documents. In comparison, using paper file folders and three-ring binders is embarrassingly old-fashioned and inefficient. However, there is one additional feature of the iPad Pro that is often overlooked and is about to get even better, the editing of documents. Significant changes are coming with the expected September 2019 release a new operating system exclusively for iPads that could make comparative review of documents and multitasking even easier for attorneys.
Currently, the iPhone and the iPad share a common operating system (iOS), but at the 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced the development of an operating system exclusively for the iPad, iPadOS. Many features of this new operating system take advantage of the iPad Pro’s larger screen and allow for efficient multitasking. There are three new features in particular that will undoubtedly benefit attorneys. The one that is the most exciting for attorneys is “split view,” which allows for multiple “windows” from the same application to be open side by side. (Apple detractors will be amused by the use of the word “windows” to refer to the opening of multiple apps). In other words, two versions of the same document can be opened from the same application. Previously, the best application for performing that kind of comparison was GoodReader 5, but the ability to open up two windows within many different apps will make it much easier to compare and edit documents. Of course, this function has been available on both PCs and Macs for years, but having it available on a tablet, like the iPad, that does not attempt to mimic a computer, is a significant technological advance.
In addition, the split view feature will work with all existing apps and even email. While apps like Readdle Documents and GoodNotes currently support the opening of an unlimited number of documents and allow users to switch among them by clicking on a tab at the top of the screen, split view will now allow users to open two windows within the same app, each containing multiple tabs, making the comparison of documents even easier. Hopefully, this improvement will bring attorneys who like to print copies of four or five different documents and spread them out on a table for review into the 21st century.
To simplify the navigation of the new windows and tabs, Apple created “App Exposé” and “slide over card interface.” App Exposé allows users to view all of the open windows within an app by holding down the app’s icon. For example, if multiple websites have been opened in a web browser, all of those open windows will be displayed, and it will be easy to move among them by simply tapping on a window. Similarly, slide over card interface allows users to view and switch between multiple apps smoothly.
One of the biggest complaints about the iPad is that there is no way to import files from thumb drives, SD cards and external hard drives. However, this is about to change because iPadOS includes the capability to plug in an external device and import its files into the iPad’s file app. Of course, the external device will work best with a USB-C interface on the newer iPad Pro, but older iPads that have a Lightning port will also be supported with the right cable or adapter. File sharing, which was previously limited to downloading from the cloud, will improve dramatically.
Another improvement that may be of interest to attorneys in iPadOS is the enhanced Apple pencil. Users will be able to mark up anything by tapping on the corner of the iPad’s display. Additionally, although I have never found it to be a problem, the latency of the pencil is being reduced, making for an even more seamless writing experience. There are new gestures to make it easier to select, copy, and paste text, and dragging the pencil from the bottom corner of the screen will allow you to take a screenshot.
All of these features—and others too numerous to describe in this article—are designed to improve the user interface, and they will undoubtedly benefit attorneys. The ability at a deposition, or in a courtroom, to quickly access documents from multiple sources will spell the doom of three-ring binders and banker boxes.
Reprinted with permission from the August 21, 2019 edition of “The Legal Intelligencer” © 2019 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. For information, contact 877-257-3382, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.almreprints.com.