For years, iPad users have been hoping to use Apple's tablet as a modular tool to make it fit into their workflow. That ability seemed to finally arrive with iPadOS 16 and Stage Manager.
If you're not caught up, this new feature allows you to not only have up to four apps running at once, but also to resize them as individual windows, similar to how you can in macOS and Windows 11. Alongside this, you're able to hook up your iPad to an external monitor, allowing you to have up to eight apps running at once.
While this is only available to iPads with the M1 chip, Stage Manager finally allows some users to make the tablet their main device with these features, but Apple is known to hint towards future offerings in plain sight.
This is why I'm confident in thinking that this sole feature has opened up the path to a bigger, 14 or 15-inch iPad, as the rumors have been hinting at.
Exit stage left, in 15 inches
I've long been vocal about how my workflow has changed to the point where a MacBook Pro fits my needs better than an iPad these days, and even iPadOS 16 won't cause me to switch back anytime soon.
But that doesn't mean the iPad is a one-size-fits-all device. It's benefited so many other users in how they can create, edit and consume content, and iPadOS 16 is an evolution of that for these users.
Stage Manager finally gives iPad users a justifiable way to manage their apps in whatever method they deem fit, more so than what the feature offers in macOS Ventura.
When I watch the demos of it being showcased in macOS Ventura, the feature seems out of place on the Mac, especially when you can use Spaces and Mission Control to manage your apps already. It looks cluttered on the Mac, and I'd expect it to change as future betas arrive in the coming months.
But on iPad it feels right at home, especially when you use a trackpad. However, this also makes me think about the future of the tablet. There have been rumors in recent years of a bigger iPad, but the software has never justified as to why this would be a good idea.
Stage Manager does, especially when you consider how a 15-inch iPad Pro could work with this, especially if the multitasking expands to five apps at a time for this bigger tablet.
Apple made a big deal of desktop-class apps (opens in new tab) coming to the iPad, and while there was nothing to back up these aims in the form of Final Cut Pro or Xcode coming to the tablet, it makes sense for these to arrive when either iPadOS 16 is available for everyone in the fall of 2022, or when a bigger iPad arrives.
Many users have been waiting for Apple to go all-in on the iPad, and Stage Manager is the biggest example in years of where the iPad can go.
And while I'm not using the device full-time anymore, I'll be curious to see where it goes with the new update, and to see how Stage Manager evolves to handle pro apps for students, developers, and videographers.