• February 8, 2023

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A new report claims that the new software for iPad, that’s iPadOS 16, won’t be arriving when it was expected, which was September. According to Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, we’ll need to wait until October for the sparkling new OS—though iPhone users will be glad to know that iOS 16, which will bring new features to the iPhone, is still on schedule for September.

This is a big change. Until 2019, iOS was the software that ran both the iPhone and iPad (as well as the iPod touch). But iPadOS was first seen in September 2019, when the two systems diverged and iPadOS 13 was released at the same instant as iOS 13.

In other words, this will be the first time that the iPhone and iPad don’t receive all-new operating software at the same time.

So, why is it happening? Gurman says, “The delay of the software is due, at least in part, to an ambitious effort to overhaul the iPad’s multitasking capabilities. The update includes a feature called Stage Manager that lets users operate several tasks at the same time, resize windows and bounce between different clusters of apps.”

There have been issues using Stage Manager in some beta versions, though I will say I love it and think it is a brilliant update that has changed how I use the iPad.

But Apple was criticized for restricting it to iPads running the M1 processor, that is, the latest iPad Pro and iPad Air models. I talked to Apple’s Craig Federighi about this (and lots more), and he told me that it was entirely down to ensuring a smooth, responsive experience for the software and that the Apple M1 chip was needed for this.

Gurman claims that the delay means that “Staggering the release schedule will also allow Apple to put more engineering resources into completing iOS 16, the software update that will come included with the iPhone 14 in September.”

This delay raises an intriguing possibility: could Apple be responding to the criticisms of the exclusivity of Stage Manager by adjusting it so that it’s compatible with other models, perhaps?

I’d love that, though my gut tells me that such a change would take way longer to achieve than the extra few weeks predicted here.

Apple is also expected to release two new iPads this year, a new iPad Pro and an entry-level iPad, perhaps with a new design and a switch from Lightning to USB-C (making the iPad range completely Lightning-free).

Stage Manager is also due to land on the Mac with macOS Ventura, and this is predicted to surface in October, too. Gurman says the implementation has been “less controversial”.

We’re still weeks from the release of the new software, so plenty could change and, theoretically, iPadOS 16 could still arrive in September. It could even land without Stage Manager, with that marquee feature coming later.

For me, that seems a strong possibility: there’s a lot more to iPadOS 16 than just Stage Manager, and I suspect Apple will be keen to get it out as soon as it can.


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