Probably the biggest change Apple announced with iPadOS 16 earlier this year is Stage Manager, a totally new multitasking system that adds overlapping, resizable windows to the iPad. That feature also works on an external display, the first time that iPads could do anything besides mirror their screen on a monitor. Unfortunately, the feature was limited to iPads with the M1 chip - that includes the 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro released in May of 2021 as well as the M1-powered iPad Air which Apple released earlier this year. All other older iPads were left out.
That changes with the latest iPadOS 16 developer beta, which was just released. Now, Apple is making Stage Manager work with a number of older devices: it'll work on the 11-inch iPad Pro (first generation and later) and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (third generation and later). Specifically, it'll be available on the 2018 and 2020 models that use the A12X and A12Z chips rather than just the M1. However, there is one notable missing feature for the older iPad Pro models - Stage Manager will only work on the iPad's build-in display. You won't be able to extend your display to an external monitor.
Apple also says that developer beta 5 of iPadOS 16. is removing external display support for Stage Manager on M1 iPads, something that has been present since the first iPadOS 16 beta was released a few months ago. It'll be re-introduced in a software update coming later this year. Given that some of the iPad community has been pretty vocal about issues with Stage Manager, particularly when using it with an external display, it makes sense that Apple is taking some extra time to keep working on it.
Obviously, we'll need to try Stage Manager on an older iPad Pro before we can say how well it works, but the A12X and A12Z chips are still plenty powerful, so the experience should hopefully not be any different than on an M1 iPad. It's a bummer that external monitor support isn't included, but this should still be welcome news to people who bought Apple's most expensive iPads in the last few years.
Apple provided Engadget with the following statement about this update:
We introduced Stage Manager as a whole new way to multitask with overlapping, resizable windows on both the iPad display and a separate external display, with the ability to run up to eight live apps on screen at once. Delivering this multi-display support is only possible with the full power of M1-based iPads. Customers with iPad Pro 3rd and 4th generation have expressed strong interest in being able to experience Stage Manager on their iPads. In response, our teams have worked hard to find a way to deliver a single-screen version for these systems, with support for up to four live apps on the iPad screen at once.
External display support for Stage Manager on M1 iPads will be available in a software update later this year.