IPadOS 16: stage director observations

Cmaier

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When using a mouse or trackpad, you can drag from any side or corner of a window to resize. It still does the weird rubber-bandy/elasticy thing where it shrinks from each side, and doesn’t follow the mouse pointer, so using a trackpad doesn’t magically give you the ability to arbitrarily size windows quite like you can on a Mac.
 

Cmaier

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Seems to be the first couple Betas are pretty stable, then it turns to shit after that.
In my experience it’s been the reverse in recent years, at least so far as bugs that break my ability to actually use the device. Typically I can’t use my work email, or launch certain apps, in early betas.
 

Cmaier

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My suggestions on how to improve this, now that I’ve played with it on iPad for a few days.

  • the “stage” area (list of screen groups on the left) should autohide. Drag in from the left to fetch it. Keep dragging all the way from the left and it shows you *all* your groups (like if you swipe up from the bottom of the screen today) (Note: it turns out if your windows are big enough - i.e. extend far enough to the left - the stage goes away. But then there is no way to make it come back without shrinking your window.)
  • the “stage” area should be vertically scrollable to show more groups, and they should always be ordered based on recently-used. (I cannot figure out what the order is right now)
  • the blurred “desktop” background should be tappable - tap it to go to the desktop. Otherwise why is it there? If you are going to have pointless space there, just tile the windows instead and fill all the space.
  • apps that still require full screen (i.e. that don’t work with Split View) should always just get full screen. No point in having them in a smaller window when you can’t put up a second app next to them. Even better: just always allow windowing, regardless of whether an app thinks it is a full-screen-only app
  • gestures like “tap to the top of the list view” should work even when a window is not taking the whole screen
  • when an app is full screen, the “drag handle” should be faded, or go away, unless I tap the window. It’s distracting when watching videos, for example. (Maybe there is a way for developers to deal with it)
  • resizing should be more mac-like. If I drag a corner, shrink from that corner. Whatever algorithm they are using to resize and move the windows is frustrating. If they think it needs to stay this way for touch, then at least make it mac-like when using a trackpad (which already has differing behavior).
  • resizing shouldn’t be precious about symmetrical margins. It’s really hard to use the “empty” space on the right side of the screen, because, instead, the algorithm keeps moving your right-most window to the left so that the space is preserved for some reason.
  • Pick a windowing scheme. Since when is it Apple-like to have two different windowing managers that you can toggle between?
  • The three-dots button is a needless extra step. Use mac-like traffic light buttons (or whatever), not requiring a second tap.
 
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Runs For Fun

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So it seems like there is actually a good reason this only works on M1 iPads. All of the M1 iPads have at least 8GB of RAM. I can see this requiring more memory to keep all of the applications in memory but also with virtual swap this would probably cause excessive swapping on devices with <8GB of RAM and would probably perform poorly.
 

Cmaier

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So it seems like there is actually a good reason this only works on M1 iPads. All of the M1 iPads have at least 8GB of RAM. I can see this requiring more memory to keep all of the applications in memory but also with virtual swap this would probably cause excessive swapping on devices with <8GB of RAM and would probably perform poorly.

Maybe. There are two things going on - windowing behavior and ”let the app keep running” behavior. If it was possible to allow to windows to run in Split View with a third in a slide over and fourth playing video in a window, I don’t see why stage manager would require more memory usage (inherently) than that. The separate changes of allowing these apps to all run even if not in the foreground (and, in fact, allowing up to 8 of them to do so if you have another monitor) would require more memory, sure. But Apple could theoretically have decoupled that from “you can have windows that overlap a little and have sort-of-arbitrary dimensions.”
 

Yoused

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The thing I am hoping for is to be able to drag something onto an app icon (file icon, image, selection) and have the app open for me in a Mac-like sorta way, perhaps sometimes allowing me to put the pasteboard in a holding pen (sort of like when 3-dot multitasking put a window to the side waiting for you to pick another) until I find where I am going to put it.

Do those staging icons on the side take droppings?
 

Cmaier

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The thing I am hoping for is to be able to drag something onto an app icon (file icon, image, selection) and have the app open for me in a Mac-like sorta way, perhaps sometimes allowing me to put the pasteboard in a holding pen (sort of like when 3-dot multitasking put a window to the side waiting for you to pick another) until I find where I am going to put it.

Do those staging icons on the side take droppings?
Nope.
 

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So pretty much what I said though there are a couple nuances mentioned at the end that don’t make a whole lot of sense.
 

Cmaier

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So pretty much what I said though there are a couple nuances mentioned at the end that don’t make a whole lot of sense.

Yeah, it‘s kind of nonsensical because what Apple is doing is pretending that presentation - the way the windows look and are resized - is inextricably tied to the fact that they run simultaneously. You can have four apps in view on one screen right now (split view = 2, plus 1 for Slide Over and 1 for video), and you don‘t need all that fancy memory stuff. And if I don‘t use stage manager, and use an external monitor, presumably I could have at least 7 apps running at once (don‘t know. Will try it tomorrow).

The fact of the matter is, it does make sense to require an M1 to allow full simultaneous multitasking for all those apps. It does not make sense to require an M1 to allow resizable overlapping windows.

Hell, the original Arm Mac development kit ran on an A12-series chip. If you can run macOS on an A12, you don‘t need an M1 to run stage manager (which is, compared to what a Mac does, pretty gimped).
 

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Yeah, it‘s kind of nonsensical because what Apple is doing is pretending that presentation - the way the windows look and are resized - is inextricably tied to the fact that they run simultaneously. You can have four apps in view on one screen right now (split view = 2, plus 1 for Slide Over and 1 for video), and you don‘t need all that fancy memory stuff. And if I don‘t use stage manager, and use an external monitor, presumably I could have at least 7 apps running at once (don‘t know. Will try it tomorrow).

The fact of the matter is, it does make sense to require an M1 to allow full simultaneous multitasking for all those apps. It does not make sense to require an M1 to allow resizable overlapping windows.

Hell, the original Arm Mac development kit ran on an A12-series chip. If you can run macOS on an A12, you don‘t need an M1 to run stage manager (which is, compared to what a Mac does, pretty gimped).
How much RAM did those dev kits have? I feel like that’s more the limiting factor and not something specific to M1. It just happens that all of the M1 iPads have at least 8GB so that’s why they’re limiting it to M1.
 

Cmaier

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How much RAM did those dev kits have? I feel like that’s more the limiting factor and not something specific to M1. It just happens that all of the M1 iPads have at least 8GB so that’s why they’re limiting it to M1.

That could be. Though I doubt 6GB vs 8GB, for example, would make a huge difference.
 

mr_roboto

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How much RAM did those dev kits have? I feel like that’s more the limiting factor and not something specific to M1. It just happens that all of the M1 iPads have at least 8GB so that’s why they’re limiting it to M1.
They had 16GB, which was interesting since A12X/Z iPads never came equipped with more than 6GB.
 

Cmaier

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They had 16GB, which was interesting since A12X/Z iPads never came equipped with more than 6GB.

Of course macOS takes uses needs more memory than iPadOS, since *everything* is allowed to keep running (and there are more daemons running). So not clear how much memory iPadOS would need to run 8 apps simultaneously.
 

Cmaier

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Today I used Stage Manager in battle, to read a patent while simultaneously writing a word doc about it. I was a bit surprised that it worked better than I expected in terms of which window received input.

Even when the word document was ”in the back,” so that it was partially obstructed by the safari window with the patent pdf in front of it, when I typed, the typing was sent to Word. That’s nice.
 

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Even when the word document was ”in the back,” so that it was partially obstructed by the safari window with the patent pdf in front of it, when I typed, the typing was sent to Word. That’s nice.
Whoa, that's neat!
 

Cmaier

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Seems like sometimes it becomes impossible to use touch to adjust the window size handles. Switching stage manager off and back on again seems to resolve. Bug filed.
 

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