Apple released iPadOS 13.1 this week, along with iOS 13.1 for iPhones. I had bitter experience upgrading from iOS 10 to iOS 11 two years ago. Even though iOS 12 turned to be quite stable, I learned my lesson to be very careful about the decision to do major update on my iPhone. This year, I decided to update all my iPads to iPadOS 13.1 right after its release, but to wait longer for updating my iPhone.

I’ve played around with iPadOS 13.1 for a few hours, and so far… not impressed.

Dark Mode is just colour, nothing to be hyped about. Totally can live without that. I even changed it back to light mode after a few hours.

Don’t like the new changes with AppStore app. Now I have to do extra taps to check my updates. I know that I can do long press from the AppStore icon, that’s still additional step.

Photo & Video editing might be useful occasionally. Something good, but not worth being the highlight of a major update.

CarPlay… no CarPlay for iPad so I have to wait until I finally decide to update my iPhone to test this.

New Reminder, haven’t tried because it will break backward compatibility and I don’t plan to update my Mac this year. I still need some 32-bit apps.

New iPad home screen, looks nice for a few minutes, then I changed it back. I mean, letting Today View to stay on Home Screen is good, but for it to appear only on the first page is beyond silly. It breaks the interface consistency that Apple used to be so good at. So, on the first page, icons will appear at certain size, then second page onwards, icons will have different size and spacing? That looks awful.

iMessage… still no feature to star/flag a message and reply to a specific message. They really waste time on those stupid Memojis.

QuickType keyboard… will spend more time with this before commenting further.

Faster FaceID unlock… can’t try because my iPads don’t have FaceID, but seriously few miliseconds won’t make much difference.

Apple Arcade… nope, I’m not a heavy gamer and happy with a few games I already own. Not gonna pay monthly cost for gaming.

Optimised battery charging, this is probably one of the most genuinely useful new feature in 13.x and they decide that iPadOS shouldn’t get it. Yeah right. That’s just a few IF statements in the code and should be super simple to include in iPadOS, but no, they just have to upset their most loyal customers with another foolish decision.

Attachment on Calendar events… ok this might be useful some time. I could see some use cases for this.

Improved multitasking… some of the gestures are far from being intuitive.

External drive support, this is the most useful new feature in iPadOS 13.1. The only downside is that I still need to carry lightning dongle to read my USB drive, but that can;t be helped, it’s already hardware decision. Two thumbs up for Apple on this one.

To be fair, this new version is not all bad. Some of the subtle changes are actually useful, such as allowing us to choose WiFi network from the Control Centre. However, the overall feel is that all the nice changes are not enough for a major version update. It feels very underwhelming.