The Real System Requirements for Apple’s 2022 Operating Systems

From a hardware point of view, while the M1 is based on the design of the A14 (which powers the iPad Air 4), when Apple announced the M1 Air 5, they noted that it has 60% faster CPU performance and 100% faster GPU performance compared with the Air 4, and I believe that benchmarks have shown that to be true. Also, the M1 iPad models have 8 or 16 GB of RAM, while the Air 4 has 4 GB (and the older non-M1 Pros had up to 6 GB with the A12Z). Apple said that Stage Manager requires the virtual swap technology, which grants 16 GB RAM to each process, and trying to use 16 GB of swap with a 4 GB device, along with scaled display on a device with half the RAM and half the GPU performance - I’m not all that shocked that Apple found that the performance was inadequate for this particular task.

I think that if Apple was just drawing a line to say that Pro features require a Pro model, they would have done exactly that and drawn the line so that the Air 5 also did not get that feature. It seems more likely that this is just a hardware performance line rather than a cynical marketing line.

I also have an iPad Air 4. At the time that I bought it, I was choosing between that and the approx. $150 more expensive M1 iPad Pro, and I decided that I just didn’t need the extra performance and features for the way that I use an iPad. That remains the case. If the Air 4 eventually gets the stage manager feature - fine. But I really don’t need it.

Also, I’ll always recall that my first iPad, the 3rd gen iPad, received updates up to iOS 9.x, but performance was so bad on iOS 9 (and wasn’t fantastic on iOS 8, either) that the device probably should never have been updated that far. That was so frustrating.

Apple Watch 3 and WatchOS

Different part of this topic: @jcenters noted in the article that Watch Series 3 will not receive the WatchOS upgrade even though Apple is still selling Watch 3 (as the “bottom end” of the line from what I can see on The upshot is that anyone purchasing a new Watch 3 is likely to be ignorant of the fact that it has reached the end of the line for software upgrades, and did so before they purchased it.

I purchased mine in 2018, and my experience with WatchOS releases is that they seem incremental in regard to features. I’m sure there have been changes apart from more and more watch faces, but unlike any other Apple hardware I’ve used over the years, none of those intentional changes come to mind. The Alarms toggle switch muck-up this year is the only time I’ve run into a really annoying glitch, and I’m glad it was fixed.

So, my iPhone 11 is paired to this Watch (and my spouse has the same setup with her own Watch and iPhone 11). Both Watches function and charge properly, and are cellular models so they are associated with our cell plan.

What happens when iOS releases a new major version?

This device is designed as a companion to iPhone, and I’ve seen how symbiotic their relationship is over these four years. Will iPhone eventually leave it behind?

Gruber passing on Apple’s statement to Rene Ritchie about why Stage Manager requires an M1.

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My thinking is that AW needs the WiFi, processing power and memory of an iPhone to get most apps to work quickly and efficiently. It wouldn’t be able to do stuff like managing photos, streaming Music, getting directions, etc., etc. effectively on its own. And without pairing with an iPhone, the tiny battery of an AW would burn up lickety split.

My guess is that eventually Apple Watch will be able to leave iPhone behind, but it will probably be way, way down the line. The more and better features and apps for Watch, the more processing power it will need. Especially for Watches, size counts.

Older versions of watchOS work fine with newer versions of iOS. I keep my Series 2 as a watch to wear when I’m doing something vigorous (I am wearing it now, in fact, after chain sawing today) and on watchOS 6, it remains paired with my iOS 15.5 phone.

It’s the opposite that doesn’t work. For instance, if you buy a brand new watch this fall with watchOS 9, it will require a phone with iOS 16 in order to pair.

I get that. Really my question was about the other side of the equation: would successive waves of iOS updates eventually leave a Watch with earlier versions of watchOS in the dust? The original question may have been worded a little ambiguously, which is par for the course on Mondays. :slight_smile:

Yes, that’s a data point for the question.

Thanks to you both!

A very interesting question! Apple has been good about supporting its devices over time:

“With all of that having been said and out of the way, how long does Apple actually support older iPhone models? The first iPhone got two updates before support discontinuing, but the trend over the past ten years has shown that Apple has steadily increased the period of time during which people might just be able to keep using their phones. Newer models are often updated to five or six new versions of iOS before support is discontinued, something that indicates that the tech giant is becoming more lenient with users that are using older models because of the fact that they want these users to stay loyal to their favorite brand.”

Apple does have a better track record than Samsung, etc. in supporting elderly models. And check out Apple Watch’s global market share:

I’m still using my trusty iPhone 8+, and am very glad to see it’s still eligible for upgrades.

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I have wished for this. Recently I was completely without cell service, and here is Ookla’s test result. (And that’s from the successful speed test. Another one failed completely.)

Of course, at that point, it was rather late to download a message.

My take from the keynote was “Meh. Move along, nothing exciting here”

Apple says that Stage Manager simply didn’t work well enough on pre-M1 iPads.

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Apple is now saying that you can continue to use an iPad as a Home hub in iPadOS 16, but it won’t support Matter.

We don’t usually update articles after they’ve been sent in an issue—much less months after publication—but Apple has slightly loosened the iPad requirements for Stage Manager prior to the release of iPadOS 16. Given that we refer to this article often, I thought it only made sense to update it for accuracy.

Bugger, supports iPad Air 5th gen and I have a 4th gen. Ah well, I don’t use it much anyway. I honestly can’t see myself ever buying an iPad again. I bought mine primarily as a large screen for my drone but now I have a dedicated controller with screen I may as well sell the iPad.