iPadOS 16 could land later than iOS 16 – but it’s for a good reason

iPadOS 16 on train
(Image credit: TechRadar)

We were expecting iPadOS 16 to land in finished form in September, alongside iOS 16, but while the latter probably will land in September, sources now claim that iPadOS 16 has been pushed back to October.

This is according to according to “people with knowledge of the matter” speaking to Bloomberg, who claim that the delay is at least in part because iPadOS 16 is so ambitious, and could benefit from the extra development time.

Key to this update is Stage Manager, a feature which is already available in beta versions of the software, and which aims to transform multitasking on iPads, with the goal of improving productivity and bringing the tablets closer in functionality to a Mac. So it’s a big change, and something Apple isn’t including in iOS 16, so the iPhone software likely needs less work.

But that’s not the only reason put forward for the delay. Apparently, it would also allow Apple to focus more on iOS 16 in the coming weeks, so even though that might be in less need of extra attention, both operating system updates could receive more attention as a result of this delay.

Plus, this delay would reportedly also mean that iPadOS 16 lands closer to the launch of the iPad Pro 2022 and iPad 2022, which suggests that these new slates won’t land until or October or later.

We’d take these claims with a pinch of salt for now, but the article was penned by Mark Gurman, who has a solid track record for Apple information.

Analysis: iPadOS 16 needs this extra polish

While this rumor of a delay is unconfirmed, it would certainly make sense, as in our hands-on impressions of the iPadOS 16 beta, we noted that Stage Manager is an exciting but currently quite flawed feature.

We found that it could be surprisingly clunky and unintuitive, so it could definitely benefit from some additional development time to get it more polished.

iOS 16 meanwhile seems to be in much better shape, going by our iOS 16 beta hands-on, so that should be relatively simple for Apple to get finished up by September.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.