Earlier this week at its WWDC 2022 conference, Apple unveiled the next versions of its operating systems, including macOS Ventura and iPadOS 16. The headlining feature this time around is Stage Manager, which puts all of your open windows on the side of the screen in a miniaturized state and then you can keep open the windows you want to focus on. To switch programs, you just click on the preview on the left. You can also group windows together in case you use several programs to complete tasks.
That said, Stage Manager is not coming to all Apple hardware even if they support the latest versions of the company's operating system. When it comes to iPadOS, only M1 iPads support Stage Manager while older models are out of luck, despite supporting iPadOS 16. Although this has led to some backlash from people using older devices, Apple has now provided some clarification behind this move.
In a statement to tech reporter Rene Ritchie, Apple had the following to say:
Stage Manager is a fully integrated experience that provides all-new windowing experience that is incredibly fast and responsive and allow users to run 8 apps simultaneously across iPad and an external display with up to 6K resolution. Delivering this experience with the immediacy users expect from iPad’s touch-first experience requires large internal memory, incredibly fast storage, and flexible external display I/O, all of which are delivered by iPads with the M1 chip.
So basically, it all comes down to performance. Apple believes that its M1 chip in iPads is capable of handling the graphical prowess of Stage Manager while older hardware is not.
The reasoning does make some sense on paper, though. As an example, the current iPad Pro comes with the vastly superior M1 chip and up to 16GB of RAM, but 2020's model sports Apple's Bionic SoC and 6GB of RAM. Apple isn't saying that it's impossible to run Stage Manager on the latter hardware, it's just saying that it won't result in a good experience.
Source: Rene Ritchie (Twitter)