Apple Pencil: iWork apps on iPad support new hover function

In conjunction with the release of iPadOS 16.4, Apple has also expanded support for a new Apple Pencil 2 feature on current iPad Pro models. The manufacturer’s Office apps now support the tablet pen’s improved hover mode: new versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote are available for this purpose.

The word processing, the spreadsheet program and the presentation software dominate the so-called floating text in the fresh version 13.0. This “makes it easier to navigate, write, draw and illustrate with the Apple Pencil more precisely on supported iPad models,” Apple writes. However, this only works with the 2022 iPad Pro in its 11 and 12.9 inch versions – older incarnations cannot do this because, according to Apple, it requires an M2 chip, along with the Apple Pencil 2 (from 113 €).

In practice, this means that by recognizing inclination (tilt) and azimuth (distance) it is possible to display a character preview or activate an existing character field. This may not be revolutionary, but it improves operation because it looks natural. Thanks to the hover, the Apple Pencil 2 can be recognized at a distance of up to 12 mm above the screen. This is simply not possible with older iPads.

Pages, Numbers, and Keynote 13.0 updates offer even more improvements. In all three programs, for example, you can export and send copies of a document in a different format directly via the share menu. In Pages, report, note, letter, and resume templates now include placeholder text with instructions. Viewing Keynote Live presentations is now only supported via web browsers.

Furthermore, Apple has implemented various bug fixes, performance and stability improvements, which the group does not explain in detail. According to Apple’s support database, however, there do not seem to be any security-related fixes. All three iWork apps are being given away by Apple for free to owners of iPads, iPhones and Macs. Content can also be accessed and edited in the browser via

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