We may not like it, but sometimes software implementation decisions are a tradeoff between features and performance. And this week some people are hot about it.
When Apple announced Stage Manager for iPadOS 16 last week, it noted that the feature was only available on M1-based iPads. This has some people in a lather wondering why the feature doesn’t run on recent iPad Pros that don’t have the M1 chip. It’s a fair question, but Apple’s answer is basically what you’d imagine:
Stage Manager is a fully integrated experience that provides all-new windowing experience…
It’s an experience of experiences. When you have recursive experiencionalization, you know it needs top-notch hardware.
…that is incredibly fast and responsive and allow[s] users to run 8 apps simultaneously across iPad and an external display with up to 6K resolution. Delivering this experience…
Was this response written by an experience?
…with the immediacy users expect from iPad’s touch-first experience…
Everything okay there, Apple?
…requires large internal memory, incredibly fast storage, and flexible external display I/O, all of which are delivered by iPads with the M1 chip.
I think you mean “the M1 chip experience”.
Too long, fell asleep while reading: it sucks on non-M1 iPads and Apple doesn’t like it when things suck.
Craig Federighi has gone on to add more color to this limitation while dialing back the use of the word “experience” from “EXPERIENCE OVERDRIVE MODE” to “Regular Experience Mode”.
“We also view Stage Manager as a total experience that involves external display conductivity. And the IO on the M1 supports connectivity that our previous iPads don’t, it can drive 4K, 5K, 6K displays, it can drive them at scaled resolutions. We can’t do that on other iPads.”
Indeed, showing Stage Manager on an attached display is what really made the Macalope think he was interested in this feature. Experience. Whatever. That, it turns out, is going to be a bit of a problem for him, at least initially, as his current iPad is a 2018 iPad Pro, not an M1-based model. What’s a mythical beast to do? He wants to run Stage Manager when the public beta is out, but the iPad Pro is probably going to be refreshed this fall. Does he buy an iPad Air now or wait?
It’s unfortunate to be in this position, but these tradeoffs happen frequently in technology. Stage Manager is essentially a pro feature and thus runs only on higher-end hardware.
If you want to get mad about something (and who doesn’t?!), here’s a much more ridiculous thing Apple is currently doing. If you go to ye olde Apple.com web store right now this very day, you will see the Apple Watch Series 3 for sale. You can buy one! Apple is still selling this almost five-year-old Watch in June of 2022. But it’s cheap! Only $199! What’s wrong with that?
What’s wrong with it is that watchOS 9, which will be released this fall, will not run on the Series 3. Buy a Series 3 Watch today and enjoy your three months of running the latest OS.
Now, clearly, Apple has shipped some software features that don’t run on hardware that’s more than a couple of years old. The Macalope remembers not being able to enjoy the turning block animation when switching accounts on OS X for a few years. But he’s having a hard time recalling an instance of the company selling a device that was not going to get the OS update coming three months later. This seems like something Apple should not be doing. Indeed, the Macalope was surprised to see the Series 3 still selling after last year’s event where the Series 7 was unveiled. He was even more surprised to see it selling after last week’s WWDC Keynote.
The horny one doesn’t like to play the “Don’t buy this device!” game. Everyone’s situation is different. But you should probably only be buying a Series 3 Apple Watch in very limited circumstances. Like if you need an Apple Watch to smash in a television show or art installation or fit of rage or something.