Can Apple still save Stage Manager on the iPad?

Stage Manager, this year’s big novelty for iPads, can it still be saved? If we are to believe Federico Viticci, things are off to a bad start. The Italian blogger and podcaster was among the first to use an iPad instead of a Mac for work, and he remains one of the tablet’s biggest advocates. And yet even he decided to disable Stage Manager and he wants Apple remove the function when iPadOS 16 was released to make changes that he saw as essential.

Craig Federighi, so happy to introduce us to Stage Manager on iPad during the WWDC 2022 keynote.

He thus joins the rank of skeptics, well occupied until then by Mark Gurman, who maintains that Apple has known from the start weaknesses of this function. According to him, it is for this reason that the novelty was discreet during the keynote of the WWDC and it also which could justify a delay of iPadOS 16. The journalist of Bloomberg indeed evokes a staggered release in October, which would leave the developers of Cupertino a little more time to refine the function.

The launch of the final version of

The launch of the final version of iPadOS 16 would be postponed by a month

But will a period of one or a few months be sufficient? Federico Viticci is skeptical, as he notes that the problem is not only related to bugs in Stage Manager, but above all to the choices made by Apple. He refers in particular to two requests formulated from the first beta and which were rejected by the company. They concern the management of scenes (a set of windows brought together) and their switching between the iPad and an external screen.

For my part, I tried Stage Manager for the first time with the very first beta and it was indeed unusable. The number of bugs and unexpected behaviors was such that it was difficult for me to write an article using Stage Manager, as I detailed in the article published next.

With Stage Manager, Apple always tries not to copy macOS to the iPad

With Stage Manager, Apple always tries not to copy macOS to the iPad

I’ve just written the Stage Manager chapter for my upcoming iOS 16 What’s New book, so I spent some time with this feature in the latest beta. Apple has fixed the majority of the bugs, so the novelty is now much more pleasant, especially with an external screen. However, there are still a large number of them, for example the Settings app is all distorted in the last beta when displayed on the external screen, but the system crashes less often and the behavior of Stage Manager is finally (almost) consistent.

That said, I find that the implementation chosen by Apple, halfway between full-screen apps and macOS windows, remains wobbly. You can resize and reposition windows, but not freely and the choices imposed by iPadOS 16 are often painful. And above all, it lacks a Mission Control to navigate in the middle of all the windows. When you have four on a stage and they overlap, you can’t easily find the ones you want, whereas the system dedicated to the Mac has solved this problem for years.

Not being a heavy user of iPadOS multitasking (I have a Mac if I want to work on more than one app at a time), I’m not the best judge of Stage Manager on the tablet. If you were able to use it on your side, what do you think of this function?

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