Apple confirms iPadOS 16 delay [Updated]


iPadOS 16 Stage Manager
iPadOS 16 is turning out to be more difficult than Apple expected.
Image: Apple

Apple seeded iPadOS 16 beta 7 to developers on Monday, and its build number confirms that the release of this new version has been pushed back several weeks. This is in-line with an earlier leak that iPads wouldn’t see an update until October.

In addition, there has now been no new macOS Ventura beta for over two weeks, showing it’s also not close to release. That’s not surprising, however.

iOS 16, watchOS 9 and tvOS 16 are in the final stages of beta testing, and are expected to become debut in September, as expected.

iPadOS 16 release punched back to October

Apple unveiled iPadOS 16 at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and has since released multiple rounds of betas as the company works to complete development of the operating system. This process was expected to wrap up in September, the usual month for each new iPadOS version to launch. But not this year.

Apple appends letters to the build numbers for each of its betas as a way to show progress. These start near the middle of the alphabet and count down to “a.” For iPadOS 16 beta 4 back in July, the build number was 20A5328h. For beta 5 it was 20A5339d. For beta 6, the build number was 20A5349b.

If the debut of the operating system was imminent, the next build number would end in “a.” But it doesn’t. The build number for Tuesday’s iPadOS beta 7 is 20B5027f. Apple reset the countdown to give itself room for more betas. Clearly, iPadOS 16 isn’t almost finished.

iPadOS 16.1 already in development

Install the latest beta and it identifies itself as iPadOS 16.1, as Apple is going to skip to that version. There will be no iPadOS 16 release.

Latest iPadOS 16 beta is actually for iPadOS 16.1.
The latest iPadOS 16 beta is actually for iPadOS 16.1.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

“This is an especially big year for iPadOS. As its own platform with features specifically designed for iPad, we have the flexibility to deliver iPadOS on its own schedule,” an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch. “This Fall, iPadOS will ship after iOS, as version 16.1 in a free software update.”

An earlier report indicated that iPad users will have to wait until October. The reason is supposedly delays with Stage Manager. This new system puts iPad applications into resizable, floating windows, and it’s apparently proving more complex than Apple expected.

This is not unprecedented. iPadOS 13 was also packed with new features, and Apple ran into enough difficulties with development that it delayed the release several weeks and jumped straight to iPadOS 13.1.

It’s possible the release of the software update will be timed to coincide with the launch of the M2 iPad Pro, which is also expected this autumn.

Expect macOS Ventura in October also

On Monday, Apple seeded to developers the seventh round of betas of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9 and tvOS 16 but not macOS Ventura. The last pre-release version for Mac was beta 5 on August 8.

While those eager to get their hands on the new macOS version are surely impatient, the update was never really expected in September. Last year, macOS Monterey debuted on October 25, and Big Sur didn’t reach users until November 12 of the previous year.

This article was updated with Apple’s comment to TechCruch.


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