According to sources speaking to 9to5Mac, Apple is jumping on the split-screen band wagon with Microsoft and Samsung as its iOS 8 update is rumoured to bring this mode of multitasking to the iPad. The report states that iOS 8, Apple's next and highly anticipated mobile OS release, is likely to add this new functionality to the iPad's list of features. The info comes from 9to5Mac's "sources with knowledge of the enhancement in development".
The current iPad only allows apps to be used individually in a full screen view, but the new feature has reportedly been designed for the full-size 9.7-inch iPad. It will allow these iPad users to run two applications at once, but only in landscape mode. However, it is unclear whether the split-screen multitasking functionality will be available on the rather more cramped screen real estate of the 7.9-inch iPad mini.
If the rumours are true, the split-screen feature will make interaction between two apps easier for users, allowing content to be swiftly moved from one app to another. 9to5Mac added that this functionality may mean that Apple is now ready to enable 'XPC' support in iOS, allowing developers to design App Store apps that could share content.
As HEXUS readers will know, Apple is not doing anything innovative here, as Microsoft already allows users to 'snap' multiple apps around the screen edges on its Surface tablets and Samsung also provides similar multi-screen functionality on some of its devices and has previously mocked the lack of multitasking of Apple's tablets.
Samsung and Microsoft split screen multi-tasking
Microsoft's recent advert for its Surface tablet even compared the Windows device's multitasking to the iPad, as you can see below:
Other rumoured iOS8 changes and updates
Other than adding multitasking support, Apple is also said to be working on a Healthbook application, debuting a reworked version of its Apple Maps, partnering with Shazam to build in song recognition to Siri, and also possibly abandoning its Game Centre in the upcoming iOS 8 update.
Japanese blog Mac Otakara also reported that the company has plans to add high-definition audio playback features in iOS 8, following the acquisition of Beats. The blog also mentions that Apple will debut new and improved ear buds and a new Lightning connector during WWDC.
For now, we are looking forward to the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco from 2-6 June, as Apple is set to officially reveal iOS 8 in its keynote address at this event.