Apple plans several Stage Manager improvements in upcoming iPadOS 16 betas | Cult of Mac

Apple plans several Stage Manager improvements in upcoming iPadOS 16 betas

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iPad finally gets floating windows in Stage Manager on iPadOS 16
Stage Manager is going to get better in upcoming iPadOS 16 betas
Screenshot: Apple

Stage Manager is undoubtedly one of the key new features in iPadOS 16. However, its M1 iPad exclusivity has irked a lot of users despite Apple explaining the technical reason behind this.

Craig Federighi, SVP of Apple’s software development efforts, has shared more insight into Stage Manager limitations.

Why Stage Manager is not coming to older iPads

As Apple explained previously, Virtual Memory Swap and 8GB RAM are needed for Stage Manager to work properly. This is only available on the M1 iPads, which is why older iPads are not getting the feature.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Federighi shared more insight behind Stage Manager’s exclusivity. Unlike Macs, iPad apps have a higher bar for responsiveness as every app you can touch needs to respond immediately. Stage Manager allows up to eight apps to run simultaneously when connected to an external monitor. This requires access to plenty of RAM and fast internal storage.

“It’s only the M1 iPads that combined the high DRAM capacity with very high capacity, high performance NAND that allows our virtual memory swap to be super fast. Now that we’re letting you have up to four apps on a panel plus another four — up to eight apps to be instantaneously responsive and have plenty of memory, we just don’t have that ability on the other systems,” Federighi says.

GPU performance and external display support are other limiting factors behind Stage Manager’s exclusivity. Older iPads don’t have the GPU horsepower or IO bandwidth to show animations and shadow at super high frame rates on multiple displays and drive up to 6K displays at scaled resolutions.

Stage Manager is a work in progress

Apple is not done building Stage Manager yet, though. The company will continue to work on it throughout the summer and listen to user feedback. It already has multiple improvements planned for the feature in upcoming iPadOS 16 beta releases.

“We already had a number of them planned as it relates to stage manager both on Mac and iPad,” Federighi says. “And some of the feedback we’ve received are things where we’re like ‘yeah I mean that that’s coming in seed two or seed three!’ We already have those things identified, either that or bugs or just incomplete elements or tweaks to behavior.”

The full interview is definitely worth a read, especially if you are bitter about Stage Manager not coming to your iPad. Make sure to check it out!