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Craig Federighi explains Stage Manager exclusivity in iPadOS 16 to Apple M1 hardware

Craig Federighi claims that Stage Manager is too resource-heavy for any iPad chipsets other than Apple M1. (Image source: Apple)
Craig Federighi claims that Stage Manager is too resource-heavy for any iPad chipsets other than Apple M1. (Image source: Apple)
Craig Federighi has sought to explain why Apple cannot bring Stage Manager support to iPads released before 2021. Supposedly, iPad Air and iPad Pro models from two years ago are simply not powerful enough to run Apple's new multi-tasking software, which are only possible with the Apple M1 chipset.

Craig Federighi has offered clarification about Apple's decision to restrict Stage Manager and true external monitor support on iPadOS to the iPads with Apple M1, currently the iPad Air 5, the 3rd generation iPad Pro 11 and the 5th generation iPad Pro 12.9. Purportedly, Apple will release new 11-inch and 12.9-inch models this autumn, with a 14.1-inch iPad Pro to follow in 2023. For context, Apple already issued the following statement, shared by Rene Ritchie on Twitter:

Stage Manager is a fully integrated experience that provides all-new windowing experience that is incredibly fast and responsive and allow users to run 8 apps simultaneously across iPad and an external display with up to 6K resolution. 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 delivered by iPads with the M1 chip.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Federighi states that Apple 'really designed Stage Manager to take full advantage' of Apple M1, rather than making Stage Manager work on the A12Z Bionic or the Apple A14 Bionic found in 2020's refreshes of the iPad Pro and iPad Air, respectively. Apparently, only the high DRAM capacity and high-performance NAND that Apple M1 offers allows iPadOS 16's 'virtual memory swap to be super fast'. Without these features, Federighi claims that Stage Manager would be unable to provide an 'instantaneously responsive' experience while maintaining 'plenty of memory'.

Federighi adds that the ability to drive up to 6K displays is only possible with Apple M1, as well as the option of setting external monitors to scaled resolutions. However, Federighi implies that Stage Manager's animation and shadow-heavy design is what prevents its A12Z Bionic and Apple A14 Bionic chipsets from running the new multi-tasking functionality smoothly.

If you look at the way the apps tilt and shadow and how they animate in and out. To do that at super high frame rates, across very large displays and multiple displays, requires the peak of graphics performance that no one else can deliver...When you put all this together, we can’t deliver the full Stage Manager experience on any lesser system...I mean, we would love to make it available everywhere we can. But this is what it requires. This is the experience we’re going to carry into the future. We didn’t want to constrain our design to something lesser, we’re setting the benchmark for the future.

Stage Manager running on iPadOS 16. (Image source: Apple)
Stage Manager running on iPadOS 16. (Image source: Apple)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 06 > Craig Federighi explains Stage Manager exclusivity in iPadOS 16 to Apple M1 hardware
Alex Alderson, 2022-06-14 (Update: 2022-06-14)