The Stage Manager in iPadOS 16 was one of the most hotly debated features announced at Apple’s keynote talk at the Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month. Apple has made it plain that the feature will not be available on iPads that do not have the M1 processor, but it appears that its engineers are still testing how it will work on earlier tablets.
Reports from 9to5Mac, which analyzed the code of the first developer beta version of iPadOS 16, are the source of this information. According to the report, the release features an internal option that would allow Apple developers to enable Stage Manager on older iPads, notably those not powered by the M1 processor.
The Source Code for iPadOS 16 purportedly refers to an “internal setting” for “Legacy Devices” that can activate “Chamois,” the Stage Manager’s codename.” However, this does not necessarily mean that Apple intends to offer Stage Manager to non-M1 tablets, so don’t get your hopes up just yet, old iPad users! However, this verifies what Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi had previously said: that the company tested (and may currently test) how Stage Manager would perform on legacy iPads.
As a reminder, Stage Manager is Apple’s response to the call for better iPad multitasking. In addition to the new iPadOS 16 capability, M1 iPads will be able to seamlessly connect with external displays of up to 6K resolution. Once connected, iPad users can use up to eight apps concurrently, four on the iPad and four on an external monitor.
In spite of the fact that Stage Manager is an exciting new feature, it comes with the stipulation that it will only run on iPads powered by the M1 chip. Only the 2021 iPad Pros and the 5th generation iPad Air are on the list at this time. Many devoted iPad users have A-series Bionic chips, so they are left out.
Apple’s Federighi has been questioned about why the Stage Manager is only available on three iPads, despite the longer list of iPadOS 16 devices that are compatible. It was clear early on that the Stage Manager would not be able to “deliver the experience” Apple had hoped for with the new feature, according to Federighi, who spoke about it in an interview with Forbes.
“Of course, we would love to deliver any new experience to as many devices as possible, but we also don’t want to hold back the definition of a new experience and not provide the best basis for the future of that experience,” Federighi said. “And the only way to do that is to build on the M1.”