Is it time for iPadOS to add multiuser support?

The iPad is a great device. So is the iPad Air and the iPad mini and the iPad Pro. Which, when you look at it like that, shows us that Apple might have too many iPad models. Does Apple really need four different models, which even includes two variants with different screen sizes for the Pros? It does if it really, really wants to keep avoiding multiuser support!

When Microsoft unveils a new Surface Pro device, I go through the same routine: watch the early hands-on videos, go to the product page a lot, watch the reviews, and almost buy one. Well, it used to be I actually buy it and then return it, but that was years ago. Now I’ve managed to avoid forking over any money for something I’m ultimately not going to keep, which is a nice change of pace.

I bring this up because the Surface Pro 8 has multiuser support. That’s not a Surface Pro 8-exclusive feature, either. It’s just baked into the operating system because it runs Microsoft’s Windows. (In this case, Windows 11.) This device that costs more than $1,000 and is designed to get things done (if you like using Windows) actually supports hosting the whole family on it.

Yo can’t say the same thing for Apple’s cheapest tablet. Or even its most expensive option. iPadOS, which Apple says is for getting things done, easier, is missing this key feature. I know it’s a key feature because a lot of people keep requesting it. I see it pop up in a lot of reviews for Apple’s iPad models and the software equipped on them. But that clamoring got a lot louder when iPadOS came along, because even if Apple wasn’t adding multiuser support to the iPad because it was running iOS, now it felt like the company didn’t have an excuse at all.

Maybe it’s never had an excuse.

Do I personally need multiuser support in an iPad? No, I do not. Do I think it’s something Apple should add to iPadOS? Absolutely. Because while a lot of people out there seem to think that Apple has kept the Lightning port in the iPhone around for so long, despite switching to USB-C in so many other of its devices, is because of money, I think we’ve reached a similar point for iPad and multiuser support. Because if a family wants a specific experience for each person (apps and so on), then they need to buy a separate iPad.

That’s not the best situation, honestly. And Apple could fix that by adding a . . . simple? . . . feature to iPadOS. And it’s wild because there’s no way Apple hasn’t tested this, right? Which means that Apple has probably given this feature a shot, decided it wasn’t good enough (at the time), and then moved on. But moved on for how long? How can the company keep ignoring this?

Well, the short answer is it’s Apple and they’ll keep doing whatever they want to do. Because they don’t mind if folks have to buy multiple iPad models for one household. That’s better for the company’s numbers. Now, I’m not saying I genuinely believe Apple’s not adding multiuser support because it wants to sell more iPads, just like I don’t think it’s keeping Lightning around to get some more couch change from the MFi program.

But, well, it’s weird. It’s a weird thing to keep ignoring!

So the first thing I’m wondering is whether or not you think Apple does need to add this feature. Or has it been so long without it that most (all?) iPad users are just accustomed to how things are. Muscle memory and all that. And then, from there, I want to hear from you what you think Apple might be missing in other areas, some other features that the company hasn’t added despite some public outcry. Always-on screen for the iPhone, maybe?