Apple’s Craig Federighi Explains Why Stage Manager Is Limited To M1 iPads

Apple announced its new Stage Manager multitasking system for iPadOS 16 at last week’s WWDC, but while the feature has the potential to change the way some people use their tablets, not everyone is happy.

The Stage Manager feature will only be available on devices that use M1 chips, meaning only recent iPad Pro and iPad Air tablets are supported.

That’s a limitation that has caused some consternation over the last week, but Rene Ritchie was told that the issue is a simple case of capabilities — 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.”

Now, Apple SVP Craig Federighi has weighed in further via a conversation with TechCrunch’s Matt Panzarino.

According to Federighi, the M1 chips are the only ones that feature the high-speed data transfer capabilities required to make Stage Manager work the way Apple wants it to — fluidly and instantaneously.

“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,” Federighi says. “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.”

Federighi also pointed to external monitor support, saying that “IO on the M1 supports connectivity that our previous iPads don’t, it can drive 4K, 5K, 6K displays, it can drive them at scaled resolutions. We can’t do that on other iPads.”

Apple’s iPadOS 16 will ship later this fall and is now in the hands of developers. A public beta program is expected to be made available next week, giving more people the chance to take Stage Manager for a spin. So long as they have an M1 iPad Pro or iPad Air, that is.

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