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Apple Could Stagger This Year’s iPadOS and iOS 16 Software Releases

A photo of the iPad with Stage Manager

Stage Manager could be the reason Apple needs extra time on iPadOS 16.
Image: Apple

Software updates can be messy, so it’s not surprising to hear recent rumors that Apple will spread out the launch of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 rather than launch them all out of the gate at once. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurmanwho heard it from people who “asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private,” Apple plans to release iPadOS 16 and iOS 16 on separate timelines.

While we can expect iOS 16 to hit around the same time as previous software updates, iPadOS 16 may not see a public rollout until October. The idea is that more time could help mitigate issues at launch.

Gurman reports that the delay is due mainly to “an ambitious effort” to retool the iPad’s multitasking capabilities. In particular, Stage Managerwhich enables windowed apps that can be dragged and dropped around iPadOS, requires a little more time in the oven to bake. Apple might also want the extra time to make that particular feature on iPadOS 16 compatible with older models that aren’t based on the homemade M-chip. Holding off on the release would also ensure there are enough resources to tend to both iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, as Apple wants relatively successful deployments right out of the gate. After all, we can’t have a repeat of iOS 13.

Pushing back the iPadOS 16 software release means it would also coincide more closely with the launch of the next iPad model. There are rumors that we’ll see an iPad Pro with an M2 chip sometime this fall, along with a faster entry-level iPad with a USB-C port, as per the EU’s recent mandate.

Not every new feature will be ready in time for the expected fall releases of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16. Apple has already told developers that features like Live Activities, which lets you see your Uber’s status from the lock screen, won’t be available on launch day.

We’ve reached out to Apple to ask if there’s confirmation on whether it will proceed with staggered updates, but the company doesn’t usually make a statement on these sorts of reports.

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