The Stage Manager feature in iPadOS 16 has been in the spotlight this week – not because of what it allows iPad users to do, but because of its conflicting requirements. talked about how users are upset about Apple’s decision to keep it limited to the iPad M1, while the company’s explanation doesn’t seem all that plausible. But if you could change that, would you be okay with a limited version of Stage Manager on an iPad other than the M1?
What is a stage manager?
First of all, Stage Manager is a feature introduced in the recently announced iPadOS 16 that brings true multitasking to the iPad. Unlike Split View, which simply lets you run two apps at the same time, Stage Manager brings windowed apps to the iPad for the first time.
The interface isn’t quite the same as a desktop operating system like Windows or macOS (although the latest version of macOS also has a Stage Manager), but it lets you run up to eight apps in floating windows that can be rearranged and resized.
But the improvements coming to Stage Manager go beyond multitasking, as the feature also brings real external display support to the iPad. Instead of mirroring the iPad screen with black bars on the sides, Stage Manager fills the monitor with system wallpaper and allows users to move floating windows to an external display.
This is by far the biggest update in terms of multitasking for the iPad – something that users have been asking for for a long time. However, not many iPad users will have access to the new Stage Manager feature.
Stage director requirements
Apple has announced Stage Manager as an exclusive feature for iPads equipped with the M1 chip. This means that for now, only the 2021 iPad Pro and iPad Air 5 (released earlier this year) will receive Stage Manager with iPadOS 16.
Some users, especially those who bought a 2020 iPad Pro with the A12Z chip, have been upset because they find their iPad is more than capable of running more than two apps at the same time. After a few online complaints, Apple shared the details of exactly why the Stage Manager requires an M1 chip, but things get even more confusing here.
First, an Apple spokesperson said Rene Ritchie that Stage Manager was created as a “fully integrated experience”. So in order to support up to eight applications running simultaneously, as well as an external 6K display, the company concluded that only the M1 chip was capable of providing the best performance for the Stage Manager.
Then Apple’s head of software engineering, Craig Federighi, told TechCrunch that the iPad M1’s virtual memory swap and Thunderbolt port were critical to the creation of Stage Manager. However, some iPad users found these claims hard to believe.
As many users and developers have noted, the base iPad Air 5 model with 64 GB of memory does not have virtual memory paging, one of the Stage Manager requirements. The iPad Air 5 also lacks a Thunderbolt port, but does support an external display with iPadOS 16.
Federighi also noted that the requirements for Stage Manager should be very high as the feature has smooth animations and shadows, but this also seems debatable as the feature is available for Intel Macs with macOS Ventura. This is not a 2020 or even 2018 iPad Pro, which Apple claims it has a more powerful GPU than the Xboxcapable of running some applications in floating windows?
Scene Manager for non-M1 iPad
Craig Federighi also said in an interview that Apple tested Stage Manager on an iPad other than the M1, but the company was not satisfied with the results. This was later confirmed after we discovered an internal setting that enables Stage Manager for “legacy” iPads running iPadOS 16.
At the moment, Apple has not said a word about revising Stage Manager requirements. Personally, I find that other iPad models are more than capable of running at least three to four apps at the same time, since you can already do that with an iPad without the M1 using Split View and Slide Over. Here is our poll.
If Apple wants to change the requirements for Stage Manager, would you like a limited version of this feature to be available on other iPad models? Let us know your thoughts below in the poll and in the comments section.