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Stage Manager in the iPadOS 16 beta is receiving heavy criticism for being "fundamentally misguided" in its approach to bringing a new level of multitasking to the iPad experience, with some even calling on Apple to delay the feature entirely due to its shortcomings.

ipados-16-stage-manager.jpg

Federico Viticci, the founder and editor in chief of MacStories and a prominent member of the Apple community, outlined his frustration with Stage Manager in a Twitter thread earlier this week. Viticci says that design decisions built into Stage Manager are "fundamentally misguided," arguing that the feature is unstable, hard to use, and has user interface glitches across the experience.

"If Stage Manager is the future of iPadOS for pro users, I hope Apple understands that it can't be rushed. We waited years for this; might as well get it in Spring 2023," Viticci says, suggesting Apple delay Stage Manager's release entirely and rethink its approach.

Stage Manager, for the first time, lets users overlap windows and use external display support with their iPad. Apple's implementation of the feature, however, is not as clear-cut as some may have hoped.

iPad enthusiasts have yearned for the company to take better advantage of the iPad's power and multitasking potential, and Stage Manager is Apple's answer to those calls. The narrative around iPadOS and its inability to take full advantage of the iPad's hardware took a momentous leap when Apple brought the M1 Apple silicon chip to the iPad Pro in April 2021 and then to the iPad Air last fall.

Stage Manager is designed to only work with iPads powered by the M1 chip, another point of contention surrounding the increasingly controversial feature. Apple argues that only the unified memory architecture of the M1 chip, designed initially for the Mac, can power the heavy workload that Stage Manager requires.

craig-wwdc-stage-manager.jpeg

Announcing Stage Manager at WWDC in June, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, said, "With technologies like display scaling and virtual memory swap, we have the foundation for a big leap forward in user experience, one that can change how our Pro users get work done on iPad."

Stage Manager is one of just a few new features of iPadOS 16, but it's also present in macOS Ventura. While they share a name and the same fundamental idea, Stage Manager's implementation on iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura could not be more different.

For instance, as Viticci noted in his early overview of iPadOS 16, Apple is looking to alleviate the heavy lifting often faced by Mac users of having to perfectly position their overlapping Mac windows to create an ideal workspace. With Stage Manager on iPadOS 16, the system automatically moves apps around to keep the main app in use in the center of the "stage" while other apps open "gracefully move to the side." As Viticci wrote at the time:
The idea behind Stage Manager is that you'll get a system that wants to help you keep the benefits of overlapping windows while offering tools that should alleviate some of the pains behind window management for people like me, who have historically disliked the Mac's overlapping windows.

Stage Manager also takes care of automatically focusing on the 'center app', and you can choose to hide or show the dock and recent apps on the left side. If you keep the dock, you'll have a fast way to drag in new windows into a workspace.
Viticci shared on Twitter two feedback reports he filed back to Apple about Stage Manager, still in testing. First, he suggests an easy way to move windows from the iPad to an external display, as it's currently not possible to do so. The other feedback report outlines how the system "destroys" workspaces for apps when connected to an external display.

For the latter report, Apple responded by saying it "behaves as intended," which Viticci calls "baffling." For the other suggestion to make it easier to move windows and spaces to an external display, Apple said after having "carefully considered" the idea, it won't be moving forward with its implementation.

Stepping away from the precedent in years past, Apple is planning to release iPadOS 16 later in the fall and not alongside iOS 16, expected in September. The delay in iPadOS 16's launch should give Apple ample time to address concerns around Stage Manager before it launches to customers sometime in October.

Apple is unlikely to pull Stage Manager from iPadOS 16 when it's released, although it could always opt to label it as a beta feature until it works through the kinks, as it did for Universal Control in macOS Monterey.

Article Link: Apple Criticized for 'Fundamentally Misguided' Approach to Stage Manager in iPadOS 16
 

MrGimper

macrumors 604
Sep 22, 2012
7,950
10,308
Andover, UK
I've not used stage manager with an external display ... does it allow you to specify where the external display is located in relation to your iPad (above, as in the picture, to the side etc) so that mousing off the screen in the correct direction moves the pointer to the external screen, a-la Mac. All I've seen is external screens above the iPad.
 

BanjoDudeAhoy

macrumors 6502
Aug 3, 2020
326
438
I only used stage manager on my MBA. I have the dock on the left side of the screen and that made stage manager unusable.
Not that I personally see much need or use for that feature in macOS when I can already use resizable windows and move them between desktops etc.
 

MayaUser

macrumors 65816
Nov 22, 2021
1,284
2,326
"If Stage Manager is the future of iPadOS for pro users, I hope Apple understands that it can't be rushed. We waited years for this; might as well get it in Spring 2023,"
Since iOS updates are free..they can release it how it is in the Fall...and make adjusments based on the feedback in spring too
We shouldnt wait if its bug free for it....some users will use it as it is and make their feedback for a more polish feature
 

Reason077

macrumors 68040
Aug 14, 2007
3,037
2,584
"unstable, hard to use, and has user interface glitches across the experience."

Unfortunately this is the direction Apple seems to be going with a lot of its software updates lately. Another case in point: System Preferences in macOS Ventura beta!

Is Apple trying to do too much, too fast with its annual OS release schedule? Perhaps it's time they moved to a "tick/tock" model with major new features every 2nd year, followed by a release that focuses mainly on bug fixes, performance, new hardware support, etc? Would this give teams more time to ensure that significant new features like Stage Manager are really polished and well-thought out?
 
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stocklen

macrumors 6502
Sep 25, 2013
352
648
people have been whinging and whining about not having a windowed environment on an iPad, and here we are.

Careful what you wish for.

Personally I think this level of criticism is unwarranted right now as ITS STILL IN BETA.... and thats why this feedback is important.

Publicly slating it like this is all well and good but this may not even make it live in its current form.


Ive tried it. Its a bit weird... its a different paradigm for working on a tablet for sure, but i dont think its fundamentally wrong.

Patience is key - lets see what Apple makes of it before its released.

I think it makes much LESS sense on MacOS - it seems to be be totally unnecessary there and I dont see many using it.
 

winxmac

macrumors 6502
Sep 1, 2021
407
529
They could do a FaceTime with up to 32 people with iOS 12, meaning, release iPadOS 16 along with iOS 16 but don't release the feature if it is not yet ready...
 

unrigestered

macrumors 6502
Jun 17, 2022
420
380
Springfield
waiting for similar news for Stage Manager in macOS 13.
in fact it's even worse on the Mac side of things, as Macs already are having means to do those things and all you are getting is a half baked solution in the form of another tacked on gimmick the Windows world is often rightfully critized for with all the bloatware crap most manufacturers are shipping their systems with, instead of improving the existing tools that are already there
 
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BootsWalking

macrumors 68020
Feb 1, 2014
2,151
13,354
I love my iPad Pro as much as anyone but I don't understand the obsession to get it and its specialized OS to do things it's not designed or well-suited to do, esp when you can buy a featherlight notebook with the same Apple processor that does everything you need of it. If you're in love with the tablet form-factor then either wait for Apple to come out with a Mac OS tablet or buy a tablet that runs Windows.
 

contacos

macrumors 68020
Nov 11, 2020
2,479
9,569
Mexico City living in Berlin
It’s overengineered in my opinion. It could be so easy, just give me an active corner like on a Mac to select a „desktop“ with different open app windows on them and let me drag and drop a window from the iPad Home Screen to the extended monitor.

I’ll stick to one full screen app (eg safari) and a swipe from the right to quickly glance at twitter, messages or emails. I have not even used the „3 dots“ thing they added on iPadOS15. The only time I use it is when I activated it by mistake with a swipe down.

Apple doesn’t just work anymore. You need YouTube tutorials to use anything new that they try to squeeze into their pre-existing functionalities / features. Start to rebuilt from scratch
 

sunapple

macrumors 68020
Jul 16, 2013
2,198
3,719
The Netherlands
It’s so strange to me how they decided to waste so much screen real estate.

For work on Windows I always have my two monitors filled with app windows. I drag them to one of the sides of the screen to fill the monitor either fully or to have two or more windows in some kind of split view.

Yet on a small iPad screen they think it’s best to work with small windows and have more apps stored to the left and a dock on the bottom?

Then they even hide this functionality by default and still offer the old split view. Why not improve on existing UI?

It looks good in pictures, that’s about all the upsides I can see. Too negative?
 

MayaUser

macrumors 65816
Nov 22, 2021
1,284
2,326
of mac is kind of futile since its an more complex system...but on ipad, especially larger ipads is a must have feature system
 

nicolas_s

macrumors member
Nov 22, 2020
87
243
It’s so strange to me how they decided to waste so much screen real estate.

For work on Windows I always have my two monitors filled with app windows. I drag them to one of the sides of the screen to fill the monitor either fully or to have two or more windows in some kind of split view.

Yet on a small iPad screen they think it’s best to work with small windows and have more apps stored to the left and a dock on the bottom?

Then they even hide this functionality by default and still offer the old split view. Why not improve on existing UI?

It looks good in pictures, that’s about all the upsides I can see. Too negative?
You can extend your windows to make them take the whole screen, the dock & recent apps will disappear automatically, they only appear when you have small windows on your screen.
 
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tobybrut

macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2010
503
659
I've not used stage manager with an external display ... does it allow you to specify where the external display is located in relation to your iPad (above, as in the picture, to the side etc) so that mousing off the screen in the correct direction moves the pointer to the external screen, a-la Mac. All I've seen is external screens above the iPad.
Yes. There is an arrangement window in Settings.
 
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Aggedor

macrumors 6502a
Dec 10, 2020
556
497
For work on Windows I always have my two monitors filled with app windows. I drag them to one of the sides of the screen to fill the monitor either fully or to have two or more windows in some kind of split view.
You can do the same in macOS with the app Magnet. It was the first thing I installed when I switched back to the Mac from Windows 10!
 

Aggedor

macrumors 6502a
Dec 10, 2020
556
497
I only used stage manager on my MBA. I have the dock on the left side of the screen and that made stage manager unusable.
Not that I personally see much need or use for that feature in macOS when I can already use resizable windows and move them between desktops etc.
Huh, I also have the dock on the left (because vertical workspace is at a premium on a 16:9 display, but horizontal workspace is not). So does Stage Manager overlap the dock, so you can't click on anything?
 
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