iPadOS 16 hits the delay wall because it’s big and buggy

Apple has confirmed that the highly-anticipated iPadOS 16 update is delayed and will be rolled out widely later than the usual rollout cadence of major OS updates in the fall season. In a statement shared with TechCrunch, Apple notes that the public version of its tablet operating system will directly jump to the iPadOS 16.1 build (instead of starting with a stable iPadOS 16 update) and will be released after iOS 16.

Apple doesn’t explicitly mention why the update has been delayed, but it appears that the sheer scope of major changes and the well-publicized issues with the early beta versions are to blame. “This is an especially big year for iPadOS. As its own platform with features specifically designed for iPad, we have the flexibility to deliver iPadOS on its own schedule,” Apple said in a statement.

An iPad and an external display using Stage Manager in iPadOS 16.

The company usually details upcoming OS upgrades at its WWDC event in June and releases them in the fall to coincide with the arrival of new hardware. However, the case with iPadOS 16 has been somewhat of a tricky situation with a ton of confusion and UI optimization issues.

To start, Apple took its sweet time explaining why Stage Manager – iPadOS 16’s marquee multitasking feature – was exclusive to the iPads with the M1 chip inside. Stage Manager is one of the most interesting additions to iPadOS 16, yet it’s limited to only the most powerful (and expensive) iPads on the market.

But that’s not all, as iPadOS 16 has been riddled with issues ever since the first public beta was released in the second week of July. Special attention was directed toward the buggy mess that was Stage Manager.

iPadOS 16 doesn’t look ready for prime time

Earlier this month, MacStories chief Federico Viticci shared his disappointing experience with Stage Manager while running the beta builds of iPadOS 16. Viticci notes that it crashes every few minutes, there were a ton of UI irregularities, and the multi-window system was also broken. Viticci even went on to label it as “fundamentally misguided.”

The fact that going back to classic Split View and Slide Over feels *so* nice right now is…pretty telling.

If Stage Manager is the future of iPadOS for pro users, I hope Apple understands that it can't be rushed. We waited years for this; might as well get it in Spring 2023.

— Federico Viticci (@viticci) August 18, 2022

A quick look at Apple’s own developer forum suggests that iPadOS 16 is also riddled with random restart and app-specific issues. On Reddit, users running the beta build have complained about problems like their device getting stuck in recovery mode, random UI crashing, battery drain, issues with connecting to an external display, and screen mirroring woes, to name a few.

With such a rich portfolio of problems, it makes sense that Apple wants to delay the final public release of iPadOS 16 to offer a polished experience instead of the hot mess that beta testers have been served. As for the hardware ambitions, the M2-powered iPad Pro models are said to be in the line for a Fall debut, alongside the 10th-Gen vanilla iPad with a fresh design language.

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