All iOS users have a few ideas of what we would like to see in the future iOS 10. Some, like Federico Viticci, take it to the extreme by creating their own mockups and videos with their ideas. Although it is not the most frequent.
There is one that I have been thinking about for several weeks and it revolves around Preview, the OS X app that is used to view PDFs. That is its main function, but as Pedro Santamaría told us a few months ago, Preview is a true Swiss army knife, which is why its inclusion in iOS 10 could be more important than it seems.
Preview in iOS 10
For those who remember, Preview was one of the candidate apps to appear in Apple’s mobile operating system before the introduction of iOS 8. Finally, as we already know, it never happened. Preview was kept on Apple’s desktop computer, safeguarded.
Time passed and the app did not appear in iOS 9. However, we have been seeing how iOS gained more functionality around PDFs. Now we can work much better with these documents and we can save them from more places within the system.
At the same time, with Mail we can make annotations on the documents we send back. From writing notes and adding text to using a magnifying glass to highlight something or embed our signature. The latter is very useful for sending digital documents without having to print and scan them again.
Even more striking is the fact that Preview has its own folder in iCloud Drive, along with TextEdit, Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. Why not take advantage of it?
iBooks as a temporary patch
It’s time for Apple to deliver on its promise. The iPad Pro is the evolution of personal computers. At the same time that it shows us how things can be done differently, it must continue to drink from the platform that was born: the Mac.
That implies bringing Preview to iOS, with its most advanced version already prepared for the particularities of the Apple tablet and a lighter one for the iPhone. iBooks has acted as a patch all these years, serving as a repository for the PDFs that we store on our mobile devices. But it is far from being the ideal solution.
iBooks is an app for reading and storing books, not for managing PDF
iBooks lacks a file management system, mostly because you need to sync it with iTunes (funny how it doesn’t use the iCloud Drive folder from Preview). Although you can bookmark your documents and perform searches, there is no way to fill out forms, sign, underline, or annotate without leaving the app.
For all this, it seems too obvious that we are facing a half-finished job. The pieces are there, you just have to put them together.
Preview and iPad Pro, made for each other
IPad Pro requires a dedicated app exclusively to manage, modify, store and share PDF documents. So far, that function is fulfilled by apps like PDF Expert. Although there are very famous solutions to manage PDFs, it is a barrier for some users, especially if we take into account that these apps tend to have a high price.
A native Preview in iOS would make PDF management available to everyone. With the addition that in the iPad Pro we could use the Apple Pencil to make more precise annotations than with the finger. It even gives the feeling that thanks to the multi-touch technology the editing would be more natural than on a Mac.
It would not be the first time that Apple presents an app similar to the one offered by other developers through the App Store. We have seen it with iMessage, with Notes or Apple News. With this, it does not intend to compete with WhatsApp, Evernote or Flipboard, but rather to offer the user a more complete product and with more functionalities right out of the box.
For those of us who use PDF documents every day, it is essential to have a way to work with them on any device. For this reason, the arrival of Preview to iOS could be closer than ever and suppose a very important leap in the productivity of the iPad Pro. Hopefully it also incorporates a name change more in line with its functions.