IPadOS 16's Stage Manager feature has been in the spotlight this week - not because of what it offers iPads, but because of its controversial requirements.
Despite Apple's explanations that don't seem all that credible, users are upset that the feature is only accessible with M1 iPads. 9to5Mac discussed how users are upset.
As part of the newly announced iPadOS 16, Stage Manager enables real multitasking on iPads. For the first time on the iPad, staged apps can be run side by side using Stage Manager, as opposed to Split View, which simply lets you run two apps side by side.
As a desktop operating system like Windows or macOS, its interface does not exactly resemble that of a Mac or Linux desktop, but it does let you run up to eight apps in floating windows with resizing and reorganizing capabilities.
As well as enabling real external display support on the iPad, Stage Manager also improves multitasking. The stage Manager fills the monitor with the system wallpaper instead of mirroring the iPad screen with black bars.
The Stage Manager feature is one of the biggest upgrades in terms of multitasking for iPads - a feature that has been requested for a long time. However, not everyone who owns an iPad will have access to it.
As of now, iPads with the M1 chip will only be able to use Stage Manager with iPadOS 16, meaning Stage Manager will be available only for the 2021 iPad Pro and iPad Air 5.
It has upset some users, especially those who bought the 2020 iPad Pro with the A12Z chip, who think their tablet will be able to run more than two apps simultaneously.
Following several complaints on the internet, Apple revealed more details about why Stage Manager requires the M1 chip, but things just got even more confusing.
First, a spokesperson from Apple told Rene Ritchie that Stage Manager is a “fully integrated experience.” Consequently, the company concluded that the M1 chip is the only chip capable of supporting eight apps simultaneously plus a 6K display.
TechCrunch later reported that Apple's Head of Software Engineering Craig Federighi credited Stage Manager to the virtual memory swap feature and the Thunderbolt port on M1 iPads. However, some iPad users disagreed.
Many users and developers have pointed out that the iPad Air 5 has no virtual memory swap - one of the Stage Manager requirements.
Since Stage Manager has smooth animations and shadows, Federighi also pointed out that Stage Manager requires a high level of performance.
However, that's a bit controversial because it's available on Intel Macs with macOS Ventura. Doesn't a 2020 or even a 2018 iPad Pro with a GPU as powerful as an Xbox run some apps in floating windows?
According to Federighi, Apple tested Stage Manager on non-M1 iPads but wasn't satisfied with the results. This was confirmed by 9to5Mac when we discovered an internal setting that lets Stage Manager work on 'legacy' iPads running iPad 16.
Stage Manager requirements have not yet been reconsidered by Apple at this point.
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