Skip to main content

iPadOS 16 delay kicks my favorite new feature down the road

Stage Manager on iPadOS 16
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

iPadOS 16 was expected to arrive in September, alongside other Apple operating systems like macOS 13, iOS 16 and watchOS 9. Unfortunately, Apple confirmed that iPadOS 16 will be delayed until after iOS 16. Considering how the Cupertino-based tech giant rarely staggers the release of major software updates, this is significant – even if the delay is only by a month.

According to an Apple spokesperson who talked with TechCrunch (opens in new tab), the company will launch the new iPadOS after iOS 16. Interestingly enough, the operating system will release as version 16.1, rather than the usual 16.0. This suggests Apple wants more time to work on iPadOS 16 before officially launching it. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman's reporting also suggests the company wants more time to fine-tune the new Stage Manager feature on iPads.

I have no issues with companies delaying hardware or software in order to improve them. But this particular delay stings because it means folks will have to wait another month to take advantage of Stage Manager – which is arguably the most significant update coming to both macOS 13 and iPadOS 16.

Stage Manager is a great multitasking tool coming to both macOS 13 and iPadOS 16. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

For the uninitiated, Stage Manager gives you a new way of multitasking and staying on top of everything you’re working on, without anything getting lost in the shuffle.

It works by bringing whatever you're working on into the center of your display, relegating your other open apps into a pile of tiles on the side of the screen. Since the tiles are relatively small, you’re able to stay focused on what you’re working on while keeping tabs on everything else. It’s a wonderful productivity feature, especially when enabled on your MacBook and iPad to get a dual-screen experience via Universal Control.

Because iPadOS 16 is getting delayed, people will have to wait longer to use Stage Manager. This is a shame considering how useful the feature is. I’ve tried it while testing the iPadOS 16 closed and open betas and was impressed with its utility. And though I experienced some minor bugs with the feature sometimes not launching, it was pretty stable overall. But I suppose Apple wants to make sure it’s truly rock-solid before launch.

Though I still have access to the iPadOS 16 public beta, I was looking forward to seeing the improvements the launch build would have. Beyond myself, I was looking forward to seeing what people thought of Stage Manager and hearing how it helped them be more productive. Again, a month delay isn’t terrible, but it’s still upsetting – especially considering the main reason I’m looking forward to Stage Manager.

Stage Manager will help me to work outdoors

It should come as no surprise that I spend most of my time indoors. I am a writer, after all. Though I can (and have) used some of the best laptops to work outside my apartment, I prefer working at home or at the office because I have dual monitor setups in both locations.

I could use portable monitors like the Lenovo ThinkVision M14t or Lepow Lite H1 to have a dual-screen setup away when outdoors, but those require a wired connection. The Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 lets you wirelessly connect to tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 to use as secondary monitors. This latter setup is basically Universal Control for those Samsung devices.

However, while these are all viable options, it would require me to purchase these devices. I want to use what I have in hand, namely a MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch) and Apple iPad Air (2022).

With Stage Manager on those aforementioned devices, I’ll have the chance to get some much-needed sun while working. However, since the iPadOS 16 isn’t launching until October, I won’t be able to work outdoors for much longer. Winter is coming, and all that. October isn’t exactly the most frigid month, but given the unpredictable weather we’re experiencing these days, you never know.

Using Stage Manager on both the MacBook Pro 16-inch and iPad Air 2022 will have to wait until October. (Image credit: Future)

Another reason I’m bummed about Stage Manager being delayed is due to a major life change on the horizon.

I’m moving to a new apartment building in September – one with a spacious rooftop patio for residents to enjoy. On days when I work from home, I wanted to bring the Apple devices in my possession up to the roof to work while enjoying a view of the Manhattan skyline across the East River. I’ll still get to do this, but a month later than I planned. This also means I won’t be able to impress my neighbors, who will no doubt be curious to see my setup.

Outlook 

It’s important to keep in mind that iPadOS 16 being delayed by a month isn’t the end of the world. Before we know it, we’ll have a chance to download iPadOS 16.1 and utilize all of the cool new features it’ll bring. I’m especially looking forward to writing my formal review of the operating system when the time comes. Late or not, it’s an OS worth getting excited about.

As for my desire to work outdoors and use Stage Manager on a MacBook and iPad, I’ll still have a couple of months to do that in 2022. And by the time Spring rolls around in 2023, I’ll be fully prepared to take advantage of the nicer weather and work on my rooftop patio or any other outdoor location. By then iPadOS 16 could be even better than it will be when it launches in October. I just to be patient until then.

Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.