Apple Tested Stage Manager on iPads Without M1 Chip and Wasn't Satisfied
As more post-WWDC interviews with Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi surface, we continue to learn more about Apple's reasoning behind iPadOS's new Stage Manager feature being limited to iPads with the M1 chip.
The latest interview was published by Forbes contributor David Phelan, who asked Federighi if Apple attempted to make Stage Manager work with iPad models without the M1 chip. In response, Federighi said Apple did some early testing of the feature on other iPads, but Apple was not satisfied with the experienced delivered on those devices.
"We began some of our prototyping involving those systems and it became apparent early on that we couldn't deliver the experience that that we were designing toward with them," he said. "Certainly, we would love to bring any new experience to every device we can, but we also don't want to hold back the definition of a new experience and not create the best foundation for the future in that experience. And we really could only do that by building on the M1."
In an interview with TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino shared earlier this week, Federighi said the M1 chip's performance ensures that all apps being used in Stage Manager are "instantaneously responsive," as customers expect from a touch-based interface.
In a statement last week, shared by Rene Ritchie, Apple asserted that Stage Manager "requires large internal memory, incredibly fast storage, and flexible external display I/O, all of which are delivered by iPads with the M1 chip."
The M1 iPad Pro is available with up to 16GB of RAM and a Thunderbolt port, while the previous-generation iPad Pro features 6GB of RAM and a USB-C port. The M1 iPad Pro also features up to 2x faster storage and up to 40% faster GPU performance compared to the previous model. The fifth-generation iPad Air is also equipped with the M1 chip, but the iPad mini, entry-level iPad, and older iPad Pro models are not.
Introduced as part of iPadOS 16, Stage Manager allows users to resize iPad apps into overlapping windows for an improved multitasking experience. The feature fully supports an external display with up to 6K resolution, allowing users to work with up to four apps on the iPad and up to four apps on the external display simultaneously. A version of Stage Manager is also available on macOS Ventura for keeping windows front and center.