iPads could see a major user interface change when iOS 9 releases, as it’s said that split-screen multitasking is in the works and could arrive in iOS 9.
According to 9to5Mac, Apple could introduce such a feature at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference next month, which is when the company is expected to show off iOS 9 and OS X 10.11.
The plans suggest that split-screen multitasking will support both half and thirds window views, but it will depend entirely on the apps and what they’ll support. According to the report, the iPad screen will be able to either display “two different apps side-by-side, or multiple views of the same app.”
Be warned, though, as sources say that the this multi-tasking feature could still be pulled before its planned unveiling date, which was apparently the case last time when Apple planned to include such a feature in iOS 8.
Currently, iPad users are stuck using just one app in full screen, and must switch them out if they want to use a different app. It’s certainly not true multitasking, and Apple may be looking to fix that, finally.
The feature essentially copies the popular “snap” feature on Microsoft Surface tablets. It allows users to snap two apps onto the screen side-by-side to use at the same time, you could technically be browsing Twitter while watching a YouTube video. Samsung tablets and even the Galaxy Note line of phablets have the feature as well.
In addition to the split-screen multitasking, past rumors have said that the feature is also designed to allow for apps to more easily interact with each other. Users would be able to able to drag-and-drop text, video or images from one app to another when in split-screen mode. Plus, this feature wouldn’t be limited to just stock iOS apps, as it’s said that Apple will allow developers to give their apps this ability.
Lastly, the split-screen multitasking feature may only be compatible with the full-size 9.7-inch iPad, so the iPad mini may get the short end of the stick, but that’s not yet clear. Also, it’s said that the feature will only work in landscape mode to allow for optimal screen real estate when working with two apps at once.
This kind of feature has been wildly popular with Surface users, and it alone has made Microsoft’s tablet as close to a laptop replacement as possible, making it perfect for business use and those who need the multitasking capabilities. Furthermore, Microsoft has never been shy about calling out the iPad for its lack of such a feature, and Redmond-based company has taken plenty of digs at Apple and the iPad for its lack of productivity value.
However, jailbreakers have already been introduced to split-screen multitasking on the iPad with a new jailbreak tweak called OS Experience. We actually took a look at the app last week and were initially impressed by the tweak’s capabilities and what it could do; OS Experience certainly adds a bit more functionality to the iPad.
Then again, OS Experience falls short of what some users may be looking for. One thing that users might find a bit annoying is that the tweak completely gets rid of the default app switcher, since OS Experience comes with its own app switcher of course, in the form of Mission Control. Double-tapping the Home button will do nothing, since the app switcher is disabled when OS Experience is running.
However, Apple will most likely find ways around these problems when it launches a similar feature, but we’ll have to wait until next to see what the company will announce at WWDC.