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Fast Charge: Delaying iPadOS 16 is the right call – here’s why

OPINION: Rumours this week have suggested that Apple won’t release its iPad software update alongside its iPhone counterpart, instead shunting the latter’s release into October.

Apple tends to launch both its big iOS and iPadOS updates at the same, allowing iPhone and iPad owners to install the software updates together. As both updates tend to feature many of the same features, this always seems to make a lot of sense.

While Apple didn’t announce a firm date for when we’d see the updates during the announcement at WWDC, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman – a usually reliable source of Apple information – has this week reported that Apple intends to delay iPadOS from an original September launch to one a month later in October.

In Gurman’s report, he states that this delay could be in part due to some negative developer reaction to Stage Manager – one of iPadOS 16‘s headline features.

Stage Manager, which is also coming to macOS Ventura, is a completely new way to multitask on iPads with an M1 chipset. It allows apps to be placed inside floating windows and feels a little more akin to a traditional desktop interface. I was very enthusiastic about this upon release, however, general reaction since has been fairly poor.

In his report, Gurman says “During beta testing, the system has drawn criticism from some developers and users for its bugs, a confusing interface and lack of compatibility with most iPads.”

I have been using the iPadOS 16 public beta since it was released last month on my iPad Pro 12.9-inch and this recent news of a delay comes as very little of a surprise. Stage Manager needs a lot more finessing before it’s ready, as it’s just not that great in its current state.

Stage Manager is supposed to change the way ‘Pros’ use an iPad. Instead of being restricted to two apps open-side-by-side, you can open many more and keep certain sets of apps of to the side and easily accessible. Apps don’t take up the full display either, and they can be resized – ideal for something like Spotify where you only need the controls accessible.

However, I’ve found the new UI confusing with apps not properly sticking to their new sizes and crashing far more than normal. Yes, of course, this is a beta, but none of these issues seem to be present in the iPhone version of iOS 16 so it seems far more an iPad problem.

It also feels quite telling that Stage Manager isn’t on by default, with it merely an option that can be enabled in Control Center. This doesn’t feel like Apple’s traditional decisions as it implies the solution isn’t the best choice for all.

I still have a lot of hope for Stage Manager though, and the bones of a great software addition are there. Hopefully, if these rumours turn out to be correct, and the software gets the extra time to improve then it can reach its potential.

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