The base model of iPad Air 5 does not have a memory swap, despite being a requirement for Stage Manager

Of iPad OS 16, Apple has announced several new features exclusive to iPads based on the M1 chip, such as Stage Manager for running apps in Windows and also virtual memory swapping on an iOS device for the first time. Interestingly, while switching memory is said to be one of the requirements to have Stage Manager, it turns out that the base model iPad Air 5 does not have this capability.

For those unfamiliar, virtual memory swapping is a feature often used by computers to reallocate some storage space as virtual RAM when the computer’s actual RAM is already fully utilized by the system and apps. . Even Macs swap memory, and now this feature is available for the first time on iPads running iPadOS 16.

According to Apple, the most demanding apps with iPadOS can use 16 to 16 GB of storage as temporary RAM. And of course between the controversy over limiting the Stage Manager feature to iPad models with the M1 chip, Apple claims that running iPad apps in Windows requires super-fast virtual memory swap, which is theoretically possible only with the M1 chip.

But here’s the thing. As noted by developer Steve Troughton-Smith on Twitter, the base model of the iPad Air 5 is not compatible with virtual memory swapping. That’s probably because the 64GB of internal storage isn’t enough for memory swapping. As Apple quietly suggests on its websitememory swap on the iPad requires a minimum of 128 GB of storage in addition to M1.

This is completely understandable, but then comes the question: why does Apple keep saying virtual memory swap is a requirement for Stage Manager, when the 64GB iPad Air 5, which supports Stage Manager, clearly doesn’t have a virtual memory swap?

Stage Manager controversy

Since the announcement of iPadOS 16 at WWDC 2022, multiple users have criticized Apple’s decision to limit Stage Manager to iPads with the M1 chip. Apple’s PR team quickly got business leaders in public to talk about how the feature requires advanced hardware, but some previous-generation iPad Pro owners remain skeptical about these requirements.

Stage Manager allows users to use up to eight apps simultaneously on the iPad. In addition, it allows support for a single external display that can also be used to interact with multiple apps in windows.

The M1 chip requirement for Stage Manager is somewhat understandable. M1 iPads have at least 8 GB of RAM and they are certainly more powerful than other iPads, but it seems that Apple could have gone to the trouble of bringing Stage Manager to other iPads in a way and chose not to.

Here’s what Craig Federighi, Apple’s chief of software engineering, said in a: recent interview

It is only the M1 iPads that combined the high DRAM capacity with a very high capacity, high performance NAND making our virtual memory swap super fast.

Federighi emphasizes that Stage Manager is only made possible by virtual memory swap, which is not available on the base model of the iPad Air 5. He also claimed that M1 is responsible for the animations and shadows when using Stage Manager. Meanwhile, Intel Macs are getting less powerful than an iPad Stage Manager with macOS Ventura – does Apple know how bad Intel GPUs are for rendering animations?

9to5Mac’s Take

As noticed by my 9to5Mac colleague Ben LovejoyApple could have brought Stage Manager to older iPad Pro models with some limitations, or even to the 4th generation iPad Air.

Working with a windowed interface isn’t just about how many apps you can open at the same time. Personally, I rarely open more than four apps at once on my Mac, but I still like being able to organize them the way I want. Some with bigger windows, some with smaller ones.

Considering the current state of multitasking in iPadOS 15, each iPad model can already run up to three apps simultaneously with no performance issues. You can have two apps side by side with Split View and an additional app with Slide Over – not to mention Picture-in-Picture and Quick Note.

I’m pretty sure that A12X and A12Z iPad Pro and owners, who definitely bought these iPads with the promise that “their next computers wouldn’t be computers”, would like to have Stage Manager with a limit of three to four apps instead of eight. iPads can do this without much RAM, memory swap, or the powerful M1 chip for rendering animations and shadows.

Stage Manager requires iPads with M1 chip.

But what do you think? Could Apple Optimize Stage Manager to Work With Non-M1 iPads? Let me know in the comments below.

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