iPadOS 16 Includes Internal Mode for Testing Stage Manager on Older iPads
Amid the controversy surrounding Stage Manager and its hardware requirements, an investigation has revealed that iPadOS 16 in fact includes an internal mode that allows Apple to test the multitasking feature on iPads that don't have an M1 chip.
Code found by 9to5Mac in the beta software reportedly references an internal setting that enables "Chamois" (the Stage Manager codename) for "Legacy Devices," or in other words, iPad models lacking the M1 processor that Apple deems is necessary to deliver an "instantaneously responsive" experience.
The existence of the internal mode tallies with comments made by Apple's head of software engineering Craig Federighi in a recent interview with Forbes, in which he said that internal testing had revealed non-M1 iPads couldn't deliver the Stage Manager experience that Apple was aiming for.
"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."
The existence of the internal mode for testing Stage Manager on older iPads is no guarantee that the feature works on these devices as Apple intended, but it is likely to add fuel to the debate around whether Apple is being completely upfront about the hardware limitations of iPads that lack the M1 chip.
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."
Stage Manager allows users to resize iPad apps into overlapping windows for an improved multitasking experience. It also 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.
Some users have questioned why Apple does not allow Stage Manager to work on older devices by capping the external display resolution or limiting the number of apps that can be used at the same time. Others have pointed out that Stage Manager is also included in macOS Ventura, which works on Intel Macs that were released as early as 2017.