Craig Federighi Clarifies Why Stage Manager Is Only for M1 iPads

BY Chandraveer Mathur

Published 13 Jun 2022

iPadOS 16 Stage Manager

Last week, we reached out to Apple to understand why iPadOS 16’s Stage Manager feature is limited to M1 iPads. The company’s explanation was brief. Now the iPhone maker’s head of software engineering, Craig Federighi, has put forth a detailed explanation.

In an interaction with TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino, Federighi explained that Stage Manager is limited to the M1 chip-powered iPads because the feature is resource hungry, and Apple doesn’t want to compromise on the user experience in an effort to make the feature more widely available.

Federighi says the focus is locked on ensuring Stage Manager is “instantaneously responsive” on every device it is available.

“It’s only the M1 iPads that combined the high DRAM capacity with very high capacity, high-performance NAND that allows our virtual memory swap to be super fast. Now that we’re letting you have up to four apps on a panel plus another four – up to eight apps to be instantaneously responsive and have plenty of memory, we just don’t have that ability on the other systems.”

For context, the newest M1 iPad Pro packs up to 16GB of RAM, while its predecessor, powered by the A12Z chip, packs just 6GB of RAM.

“We really designed Stage Manager to take full advantage [of the M1 chip]. 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.”

The Apple executive added that although the company would love to make Stage Manager available on all compatible devices, certain essential features are required to ensure the user experience is consistent across devices.

“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.”

In case you aren’t aware, Stage manager allows you to resize apps and stack layers of windows on top of each other. You can also use multiple apps at once. You could also hook up an external 6K display to your iPad and use up to four apps on each display. iPadOS 16 is available as a beta for developers. It is expected to roll out to compatible iPads this fall.

[Via TechCrunch]