Apple is ruining the value of its iPads with iPadOS 16

Ipad Air 5 Magic Keyboard 16
Ipad Air 5 Magic Keyboard 16 (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

If you're an avid iPad user, the announcement of iPadOS 16 seemed like a dream at first. Much better multitasking with Apple's new Stage Manager and full external display support were some of the most requested features from the community. Unfortunately, all those good feelings quickly disappeared for many users as they realized those requested features wouldn't work with their current iPads.

That's right, iPadOS 16 is gatekeeping Stage Manager — its most innovative and important feature — for M1 iPads only, leaving a ton of people with slightly older iPads out in the dark. Plus, that's not the only feature that many iPad users won't be able to use, making iPadOS 16 a much more complicated story. In fact, I think iPadOS 16 has the potential to ruin the best thing about Apple.

Tarnishing Apple's reputation of support

Wwdc 2022 Ipados 16 External Monitor (Image credit: Apple)

When you hear comparisons of the best iPads, iPhones, and other Apple devices to the competition, you'll often hear people praise Apple for how long they support devices. I've said this before myself because ongoing support, updates, and security patches for your device are so important and one of the best reasons that Apple's devices — especially flagship devices — are worth the investment. Heck, the current iOS 15 still supports the iPhone 6S, a phone that's six (almost seven) years old. But I'm afraid iPadOS 16 is going to change all that.

The iPad Pro (2020) is on life support

When iPadOS 16 launches, the iPad Pro (2020), a device that's only two years old, will be lacking major features that Apple has added to the software. There's no doubt in my mind that iPad Pro (2020) users will be underwhelmed when they update their iPads to iPadOS 16 and feel very much left out by Apple's choices. The iPad Pro (2020) will likely feel like it's on life support, getting just enough of an update to be alive, but it will likely feel much past its time.

Software should make old hardware better when it can

iPad Pro: The ultimate guide

iPad Pro: The ultimate guide (Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

I know that the M1 chip is powerful, and Apple says said that the M1 chip is needed to make Stage Manager possible, but shouldn't software make older hardware better when it can, and not just ignore it?

If Stage Manager truly can't run on the A12Z Bionic of the iPad Pro (2020), surely Apple could have added some other update to give the iPad Pro (2020) a little more oomph when it comes to multitasking — especially since it has been such a highly requested feature from so many users. Some sort of simpler version, or a different feature altogether, would have gone a long way to keeping Apple's promise of support for its devices going strong.

It is still early

If there's one saving grace to all of this, it's that the beta for iPadOS 16 just came out, and there is plenty of time for things to change.

It's probably safe to say that Stage Manager and all its features won't come to older iPads, but that's not to say that iPadOS 16 can't still make older iPads feel alive again. There are more features to dive into and plenty more time before iPadOS 16 official launches.

I hope this doesn't start a new trend for Apple where their devices don't feel like they have long-term support via software updates because all the best features are only on the latest models.

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 


Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.

14 Comments
  • No, it's not a huge problem. Your system has to be able to page memory to disk, and the ones left out can't do that. You want it? Update. Who doesn't like a good excuse to update?
  • It's worth noting that the A12Z was able to run macOS Big Sur, which certainly had full multitasking, paging, and swapping. Though the DTK did feature 16GB of DRAM.
  • Android devices have had true multitasking for years without having to update devices to the latest hardware.
  • What exactly is “true multitasking”? This story is about virtual memory, which has nothing to do with multitasking. “True” or otherwise. 🙄 iOS and iPadOS multitask just fine.
  • You are parroting Apple's non-reason reason. I have a professional experience in this space. You can implement very reasonable multi tasking capabilities on far weaker processors and small addressable space. The proof? My galaxy s7 did resizable multi windows 8 years ago.
  • As I noted the 2020 iPad Pro had 6GB of RAM vs. 8GB in the M1 iPad Pro. The A12Z Bionic processor was also used to run macOS Big Sur on the Apple Silicon DTK.
  • Stop making such a huge deal about this. It is a non-issue for the vast majority of ipad users. AGAIN, no one buys an ipad to do heavy duty multitasking. For the same reason that no one buys a motorcycle to tow a boat to the marina. We have trucks and SUVs for that. We have Macs and Windows. Unless Apple plans on killing Mac laptops, there is no reason at all to make ipads as complex to use as a Mac. “In fact, I think iPadOS 16 has the potential to ruin the best thing about Apple.” I agree, but for VERY different reasons. iPadOS 16 has the potential to ruin the iPad. The more I read about 16, the less interested I become.
  • Thank you for saying. Leave it to tech bloggers and out of touch YouTubers to complain about a product that was never meant to actually replace a PC. However, that Apple “what’s the computer” ad may have been the start of a downfall for the iPad and it will forever be Apple’s fault on that. I’m sorry but the majority of their clientele are too stupid to even know or understand what a computer and why the Mac doesn’t have a touch screen, so that ad DEFINITELY sold them on a false pretense that an iPad can actually replace a PC.
  • Thank you for saying it. Leave it to tech bloggers and out of touch YouTubers to complain about a product that was never meant to actually replace a PC. However, that Apple “what’s a computer” ad may have been the start of a downfall for the iPad and it will forever be Apple’s fault on that. I’m sorry but the majority of their clientele are too stupid to even know or understand what a computer is and why the Mac doesn’t have a touch screen, so that ad DEFINITELY sold them on a false pretense that an iPad can actually replace a PC.
  • Having multiple open windows or at least split screen on iPhone would be nice, especially that android has had it for years.
  • So, unless I'm miss reading your point (apologies if I am), you absolutely want Apple to push the iPadOS and software to finally take full advantage of the M1 inside. It's something we've all wanted since the M1 iPad first appeared. What's the point of putting an M1 in an iPad if it amounts to little more that a quicker A series iPad, right? However, you do not want them to fully tap into what the M1 will allow with iPadOS unless the added features will also be available on the pre-M1 iPads. This would, of course, put us back to where we were, with the M1 offering nothing more than a quicker version of the A series chip iPads. That seems to be a major contradiction in those two view points. I don't see how Apple could use the M1 fully in an iPad if they are constrained to what the A series can also handle, albeit less efficiently.
  • The fickleness of the Apple community never ceases to astound me. When multi-window multitasking was pushed by those of us wanting it BEFORE M1 we were shouted down about not Macifying their pure iPad experience - now gnashing of teeth because everyone’s not getting it.
  • For owners of Air 4 or Mini 6 there was no update in 2022, maybe they’ll throw them a bone in October 2023. Stage Manager for M1 feels like an iOS 15.4 update, and even though they’re all about power efficiency Apple didn’t even make an effort to give us up to 12-14h of battery life. Now release those Final Cut & Logic Pro apps (that are still missing). Simply drop the support for 1st gen iPad Pro and make interactive widgets and multiple user profiles a 4GB of RAM requirement (those elements were available on notebooks a decade ago). Leave Stage Manager on Pro tablets but copy Snap Layouts for other models as an improved multitasking. A fresh coat of paint with new icons + UI color accents would be also welcome after all this time.
  • They could at least give the older iPads proper external monitor support, even if it only supports side by side and slide over, or snap layouts predefined as suggested above by Agzu.