It’s been rumoured that Apple would push back the release of iPadOS 16 until after its iOS counterpart gets released, and it appears we’ve finally received confirmation from Cupertino itself. According to a statement it sent to TechCrunch, the company said iPadOS has its own schedule and will come to iPads after iPhones get their new software.
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. This Fall, iPadOS will ship after iOS, as version 16.1 in a free software update.
The quote also confirms that the public release will jump straight to version 16.1, as was suspected when the latest developer beta, seeded out this week, also came with the 16.1 moniker.
While it’s odd that iPadOS will have a separate release date from iOS (with a gap of as much as a month, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman), it wouldn’t be the first time. As The Verge pointed out, the very first standalone iPadOS, version 13, went live a week after the iOS variant as version 13.1.
Gurman reported that the delay was caused by Stage Manager, a new way to multitask on iPadOS 16. The feature, which puts unused apps to the left side of the display, had attracted a slew of criticism for being buggy in the public beta. This is something that was borne out during our testing, with crashes and broken UI elements being common.
Other new bits on iPadOS include an extended display mode for external monitors, desktop-style functions for Calendar, Files and Contacts and, for the first time, a Weather app. These are in addition to all the other features introduced in iOS 16, such as a customisable lock screen and the ability to lift subjects from photos. There are also several privacy and security enhancements which we’ve detailed here.
iPadOS 16 will reportedly see a release in October, likely coinciding with the usual yearly iPad event. The latter is rumoured to mark the debut of new versions of the iPad Pro and base iPad.