These days Apple announced iPadOS 16, with a number of interesting updates for the company’s devices. In particular, it is above all the iPad M1s that benefit from it, thanks to the multitasking system that everyone is talking about. In fact, among the new features of the operating system, there is also the possibility of creare driver per iPad with the new API “DriverKit“.
iPadOS 16: Apple adds the DriverKit API
DriverKit is a framework originally created for Mac, which allows device manufacturers to develop drivers to make them fully compatible with macOS. The API was introduced in macOS Catalina to replace kernel extensions, as DriverKit runs in the user space without access to all system privileges, thus ensuring its security and integrity. But now Apple is bringing the API also to iPad, thanks to the iOS 16 update, so as to allow you to create specific drivers to make products compatible with the iPad.
For now, the DriverKit API supports USB devices, PCI e audio. And since it’s also available on Mac, developers who created macOS drivers for Apple Silicon can now easily port them to iPad. In any case, when a user installs a new driver in iPadOS, it must be manually enabled in the Settings App. At this point, the drivers can be activated and deactivated at will by users. Although Apple claims that each driver only works while the external device is connected to the iPad.
Unfortunately, DriverKit requires an iPad with an M1 chip. This means that even with iPadOS 16, these drivers will not work with older iPad models or even with the current generation of iPad mini, powered by the A15 chip. In reality, it is not yet clear why. Although it seems related to the fact that only the iPad M1 Pro supports Thunderbolt connection, while the iPad Air 5 has a faster USB 3.1 Gen 2 port but lacks Thunderbolt. Either way, this is good news for iPad users as they will now have access to a new range of accessories that simply weren’t compatible with iPadOS before.