Thursday, September 21, 2023

Stage Manager isn’t just for M1 iPads anymore

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An iPad Pro on a table in front of a red background
Stage Manager is coming to some older iPad Pros. | Photo by Brennan King / The Verge

In a big turnaround, Apple is bringing Stage Manager, one of the signature new features of iPadOS, to more iPads. Stage Manager, a new multitasking system, was previously set to be available only on iPads with M1 chips. Now, though, the feature is also coming to third- and fourth-generation iPad Pros (which have the A12X Bionic and A12Z Bionic chips, respectively), according to a statement. shared with Engadget.

Unfortunately, Apple is also delaying an aspect of Stage Manager, and it will remain exclusive to iPads with M1 chips. Support for using Stage Manager with external displays will not be available until a software update is released later this year.

Here is the full statement from Apple, from Engadget:

We’ve introduced Stage Manager as a brand new way to multitask with overlapping windows that can be resized on both the iPad screen and a separate external display, with the ability to run up to eight live apps simultaneously on the screen . Delivering this multi-display support is only possible with the full power of M1-based iPads. Customers with iPad Pro 3rd and 4th generation have expressed great interest in experiencing Stage Manager on their iPads. In response, our teams have been working hard to find a way to deliver a single-screen version for these systems, with support for up to four live apps on the iPad screen simultaneously.

External display support for Stage Manager on M1 iPads will be available in a software update later this year.

Opening up Stage Manager to more iPads is a remarkable turnaround, as Apple has insisted that the feature requires the power of an M1 chip. Shortly after Stage Manager was introduced at WWDC in June, Apple justified its decision to limit it to M1 iPads in this statement shared with Rene Ritchie:

Stage Manager is a fully integrated experience that offers a brand new windowing experience that is incredibly fast and responsive and allows users to run 8 apps simultaneously on iPad and an external display with resolutions up to 6K. Delivering this experience with the immediacy users expect from iPad’s touch-first experience requires large internal memory, incredibly fast storage, and flexible external display I/O, all of which are provided by iPads with the M1 chip.

And this isn’t the first Stage Manager controversy; the feature has been widely criticized for months. MacStories Editor-in-Chief Federico Viticci, one of the greatest iPad experts out there, has even become Stage Manager from in August, saying that “the implementation is just not there yet.” And The Verges David Pierce said in his first preview of iPadOS 16 that he hated Stage Manager.

The updated version of Stage Manager is available in iPadOS 16.1 beta 3, which was released to developers on Tuesday. Apple has uncoupled the release of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 this year, so we don’t know exactly when iPadOS 16 (technically iPadOS 16.1) will be publicly released after sometime in October. Apple’s website. Fingers crossed that Apple will get Stage Manager ready for prime time with the extra time in the oven.

Stage Manager is also coming to macOS Ventura, which will also be available sometime in October.

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