Apple plans to delay launch of iPadOS 16 update to October

Apple Inc. expects to delay the next major iPad software update by about a month and, according to those in the know, is taking the unusual step of not releasing it at the same time as the new iPhone software.

In recent years, the tech giant has simultaneously released major iPad and iPhone software updates known as iPadOS and iOS in September. This time, Apple plans to release iOS 16 during its usual time frame, but won’t launch iPadOS 16 until October, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

The software slowdown is due, at least in part, to an ambitious effort to rethink the iPad’s multitasking capabilities. The update includes a feature called Stage Manager that allows users to perform several tasks simultaneously, resize windows, and bounce between different clusters of apps.

During beta testing, the system was criticized by some developers and users for its bugs, confusing interface, and lack of compatibility with most iPads. Spreading out the release schedule also allows Apple to put more technical resources into completing iOS 16, the software update that ships with iPhone 14 in September.

The change would also bring the release of iPadOS 16 closer to the launch of new iPad hardware. The company is planning an updated iPad Pro with an M2 chip, along with a faster entry-level iPad with a USB-C port, Bloomberg reports.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the plans, which could change as the Cupertino, California-based company gets closer to its fall product launch cycle.

Even before the additional delay, Apple’s software releases were slightly behind schedule this year, with the public beta phase of the updates starting later than usual. But the company has dealt with these kinds of hiccups before. Apple faced major challenges in 2019 with iOS 13, which influenced the debut of the iPhone 11, causing Apple to change the way software updates are handled.

The Mac gets the same Stage Manager feature as part of macOS Ventura, but that version of the system was less controversial. The Mac update is scheduled for release in October, the same month that Apple typically rolls out major Mac software upgrades. And watchOS 9, the latest Apple Watch software, is still scheduled for September alongside the iPhone update.

The iPadOS 16 update also includes new features such as a built-in weather app, improved support for external displays, and new Mac-like controls for productivity apps. The iOS 16 update, meanwhile, includes a redesigned lock screen, the ability to revoke messages on iMessage, and a redesigned Home app for controlling accessories.

Apple has already said that several features planned for iPadOS 16 and iOS 16 will not appear in their first versions. That includes a feature called Live Activities that allows apps like Uber to pin the status of a pickup to the iPhone’s lock screen. There will also be a redesigned CarPlay interface and an iPad whiteboard app called Freeform.

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