The theater director’s controversy won’t go away

The Stage Manager controversy doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, despite Apple’s attempts to explain its reasons for limiting the feature to the M1 iPads.

I expressed my disappointment that my 2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro won’t get this feature, but it’s an even bigger blow to those who bought the 2020 model, only to find out that it was exempt from the main iPadOS 16 feature only two years later…

Theater director controversy

When Apple announced Stage Manager, it said the feature was “enabled by the power of the M1 chip.” This is the type of marketing statement a company often makes, so not many of us read much of it at the time.

In the press release that followed, all Apple had to say about it was:

Available on iPad Pro and iPad Air with M1 chip

No explanation was offered at the time, leaving iPad owners to speculate.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, later offered this explanation:

According to Federighi, the M1 iPads were the only models that could live up to these expectations thanks to more RAM, faster storage, and support for virtual memory swapping. It is to explain:

“Only the M1 iPads combine high DRAM capacity, ultra-high capacity, and NAND performance that allows our virtual memory to be swapped out at breakneck speed,” Federighi says. “Now that we allow you to have up to four apps on a board plus four more — up to eight apps for instant response and we have a lot of memory, we don’t have that ability on other systems.”

Federighi also noted that only the iPad M1 can support the full range of external display features due to the Thunderbolt port. He added that graphic performance also played a role in that decision.

“When you put it all together, we can’t offer the full Phase Manager experience on any lower system,” Federighi says. “I mean, we’d like to make it available everywhere we can. But that’s what it takes. That’s the experience we’re going to carry into the future. We didn’t want to limit our determination to something less, but rather set a standard for the future.”

Some owners remained skeptical that the A12X Bionic or the A12Z Bionic iPad couldn’t handle Stage Manager—particularly given that the A12Z chip was powerful enough to run macOS on Apple’s Mac mini Developer Transition Kit.

However, others have pointed out that RAM might be the explanation here. The DTK has 16GB of RAM versus 4GB (2018) or 6GB (2020) for the iPad Pro.

Developer Guilherme Rambo He said other factors may play a role as well.

There is a difference between a development kit and a consumer product. Especially considering that the DTK was packaged as a Mac mini, which didn’t have a battery it could drain, and destroying flash storage by switching wasn’t a concern given its already limited life.

But this is not a binary issue

All this seems to me credible. It simply cannot run Stage Manager on A12X / A12Z iPad Pro models With the level of ability and performance The company wants to offer. The company’s motives are good and not based on a desire to sell more iPads.


This is not a binary issue. This is not the case that theater director won’t work On the 2018-2020 iPad Pro models — it’s, in Federighi’s words, non-M1 models can’t deliver the “full Phase Manager experience.” It will include a degree of leveling.

This compromise could simply be that older iPads can’t deliver the fast, smooth animations of the M1 models. They may not have enough RAM to handle eight applications. Without Thunderbolt they may not have enough external bandwidth to deliver a great experience on connected monitors.

I bet most iPad Pro 2018-2020 owners would rather try a restricted stage manager than not have it at all. We will accept four applications instead of eight. We accept simpler animations. We’ll accept a slightly slower switch (and let’s face it, the performance boost each new generation of apps offers is rarely noticed in anything but games, so the speed difference is actually going to be slight).

So my point is that Apple simply had to warn owners of the A12X/A12Z iPad Pro models that they’ll be getting a limited version of the feature, which won’t match the capabilities and speed of the M1 versions. No one would have a problem with that, and there would be no controversy over the stage manager.

This erodes confidence in the longevity of Apple devices

One of the advantages of buying Apple devices has always been their longevity. We’ve been able to buy an iPhone, iPad or Mac knowing that it will be backed by software updates for over 5 years, and will remain perfectly usable for much longer.

Regardless of those who tend to use smart devices, most typical Apple customers will keep a Mac for 5-7 years, and some for 10 years – which is quite realistic. iPads may go back a little faster, but it’s entirely possible to keep one for five years or more.

The switch from Intel to Apple’s Silicon chips in a Mac certainly changed the rules of the game. The difference in both performance and battery life was so great that it was well understood as a watershed between the old and new generations. It might be fun to be someone who bought the last Intel-powered Mac, but that shift was inevitable.

But the same kind of watershed doesn’t exist with the iPad. IPAD previously It runs on Apple-designed chipsets, and the difference between the A12X, the A12Z, and the M1 is evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

So I think it’s perfectly understandable that 2018 iPad owners like me are a little upset, and owners of 2020 models could reasonably be very upset that their high-end two-year-old models are deprived of the key feature of iPadOS.

There’s still time to finish the stage manager’s argument

This does not require an agreement. Apple is a stubborn company that doesn’t change its decisions often, but sometimes it does when you make enough fuss, or apply enough pressure.

I honestly think this would be Apple’s best bet at the moment. Make a limited edition Stage Manager available for A12X / A12Z iPad Pro models, with any limitations and expectations management as you see fit.

At the very least, include it in the beta so people can see how it performs for themselves.

This is my opinion. How about you Please take our poll, and share your thoughts in the comments.

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