Rumor: Apple to bring split-screen multitasking to iPad with iOS 8

Posted:
in iPad edited May 2014
Apple's next-generation mobile operating system may give iPad users the ability to run -- and view -- two applications at the same time, thanks to new multi-app split screen support, according to a new rumor.




The new feature is said to be in the works for "iOS 8," Apple's anticipated next major release of its mobile platform, according to 9to5Mac. The feature has reportedly been designed with Apple's full-size 9.7-inch iPad models in mind, including the iPad Air, but said it's "unclear" whether multi-application support will be available on the 7.9-inch iPad mini.

Details on how such a feature might work remain unknown, though it was said that users might be able to more easily drag text, video or images from one application to another.

In the early days of iOS, multitasking support was limited to basic background functions for Apple-built applications. True multitasking support didn't arrive until iOS 4, then known as iPhone OS 4.0, which allowed developers to run specific processes in the background.

But to date, iOS has only been capable of showing one application at a time, leaving the iPad as essentially a "unitasking" device for viewing content.



The ability to view multiple applications at once and "snap" them into place on a limited screen size is currently offered by Microsoft's Surface tablet platform. AppleInsider had the opportunity to test out a Surface 2 last fall, and found that the ability to run two applications on the screen at once was a key advantage over Apple's iPad in terms of productivity.

Dual-window multitasking on Microsoft's Surface 2 is limited to only two apps at a time, and is a landscape-only affair. Windows are forced to the left and right of the display, as the 16:9 screen is too narrow to allow multitasking in portrait mode.

Surface


Apple is expected to officially unveil iOS 8 at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, which will kick off on June 2 with a keynote presentation. While enhanced multitasking support may be a key feature of iOS 8 on iPad, it's rumored that new health-related functions may be the defining aspect of the next-generation operating system on iPhone.

Apple is also reportedly planning to partner with Shazam to build in song recognition to Siri in iOS 8. And the company is also expected to introduce major improvements to the iOS Maps application, leveraging transit data it acquired in purchasing HopStop and Embark.

AppleInsider has seen steady traffic from both iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 in recent months, suggesting testing has been underway on both platforms for some time. In its WWDC 2014 announcement, Apple simply said it plans to show off its "latest advances in iOS and OS X" at this year's conference.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 133
    ralphmouthralphmouth Posts: 192member

    This is surely a sign that the large screen iPad is on its way. Also I wonder if this means Apple is going to increase RAM to 2 GB for the iPad AIr 2. Multitasking will be more memory intensive and Apple wants to make the experience as smooth as possible.

  • Reply 2 of 133
    kevtkevt Posts: 195member
    Looks neat. I hope multi-user log in will be an iOS 8 feature.
  • Reply 3 of 133
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member

    Makes me wonder if they will bring this to the iPhone, but the larger rumored 5.5" version only.  I doubt it would make it to the current size models.

  • Reply 4 of 133
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,299member
    Better late than never.
  • Reply 5 of 133
    christopher126christopher126 Posts: 4,362member
    May coincide with a larger iPad, too. :)
  • Reply 6 of 133
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    saarek wrote: »
    Better late than never.

    The later it is, the better it will work.

    Same with larger screens, cut and paste, etc.
  • Reply 7 of 133
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    ralphmouth wrote: »
    This is surely a sign that the large screen iPad is on its way. Also I wonder if this means Apple is going to increase RAM to 2 GB for the iPad AIr 2. Multitasking will be more memory intensive and Apple wants to make the experience as smooth as possible.
    If the next iPad doesn't have 2GB ram (or iOS 8 doesn't fix Safari) I don't know if I'll be buying another iPad for a while. The tab refreshes in Safari drive me nuts. And they happen ALL THE TIME.
  • Reply 8 of 133
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,081member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

    Makes me wonder if they will bring this to the iPhone, but the larger rumored 5.5" version only.  I doubt it would make it to the current size models.




     

    This drives the question of how screen splitting will work for the UI... will you only see a scrollable portion, or will it be scaled... even on a 5.5, reducing the real estate by 50% (what's that, something like two 3.25 " diagonal displays?)  in landscape mode will require some pretty finely sandpapered fingers. ;-)

     

    I would think the more likely model is 2(more?) active apps that you can, hypothetically, swipe between screens ala triple finger swiping in spaces on Mavericks.

     

    Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

    May coincide with a larger iPad, too. image


     


    This makes more sense.


     





    Originally Posted by RalphMouth View Post

    This is surely a sign that the large screen iPad is on its way. Also I wonder if this means Apple is going to increase RAM to 2 GB for the iPad AIr 2. Multitasking will be more memory intensive and Apple wants to make the experience as smooth as possible.

    True multi-active Apps displaying in parallel, will be more intensive yes... but thinking you need 1GB of active pages per active app may be a bit overkill at this moment.

  • Reply 9 of 133
    j1h15233j1h15233 Posts: 274member

    Safari tab refreshes drive me nuts too but certainly not enough to leave the iPad. Hopefully, this next batch of iPads will not only feature more ram, but will have an entry level set at 32 gb of storage.

  • Reply 10 of 133
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,772member
    More promises from the rumor mill for Apple to live up to.
  • Reply 11 of 133
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    kevt wrote: »
    Looks neat. I hope multi-user log in will be an iOS 8 feature.

    I don't know how that would work. The entire ecosystem doesn't appear to be designed to make that work.

    For example, imagine you have an iPad for family where 4 of the people play Infinity Blade. The game was bought and they all want to play it when it's their time. The game is 1.80 GiB. But right now, your game details are stored with the app which means that you would need that game installed 4x for this to work. Does that make sense? I don't think so.

    But lets say space is infinite or they resolve the problem by storing apps clean in a general repository in iOS 8 but with every developer updating the million apps instantly so that apps are stored clean, like with Mac OS X. How do you switch users? On a Mac it can take many seconds to change the UI and load the app and that's with a faster system. If RAM is until 8 GiB I'm not sure you can store all these family accounts in memory so it's there at the push of a button. Even if you could there are power usage concerns by using RAM. So you are either dealing with speed or battery life.

    It all just seems highly unlikely. If we still don't even have a Guest Account option that would only load Safari and a couple other apps without saving any data I can't see how we're going to get user accounts.
  • Reply 12 of 133
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    rogifan wrote: »
    If the next iPad doesn't have 2GB ram (or iOS 8 doesn't fix Safari) I don't know if I'll be buying another iPad for a while. The tab refreshes in Safari drive me nuts. And they happen ALL THE TIME.

    But then everything seems to drive you nuts.
  • Reply 13 of 133
    1. Two instances of Safari running side-by-side would be nice too

    2. I would like to see split screen on the iPhone as well. At the minimum FaceTime and another app or Notes or Calendar and another app. In landscape mode it could be done, especially with the larger screens.
  • Reply 14 of 133
    mac-daddymac-daddy Posts: 150member

    Ha cool, another one of Samsung's features that Apple will be using/stealing. 

  • Reply 15 of 133
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,166member
    My guess is this feature will require apps be built with ios 8 sdk or we will have black bars top and bottom due to different aspect ratios. This makes me dismiss the idea that the divider can be moved. Maybe this will work for built in apps only.
  • Reply 16 of 133
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    Better multitasking is welcome of course, but this is only a small improvement and the demo is unimpressive, I hope (and expect) that Apple makes it a lot easier to work with.
    The biggest problem of the iPad, that it can't be used as a replacement of a laptop, isn't addressed by this.
  • Reply 17 of 133
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,527member
    ralphmouth wrote: »
    This is surely a sign that the large screen iPad is on its way. Also I wonder if this means Apple is going to increase RAM to 2 GB for the iPad AIr 2. Multitasking will be more memory intensive and Apple wants to make the experience as smooth as possible.

    I suspect that the new iPads will have at least 4GB RAM

    Here's the Surface 2 Pro Specs:

    Storage* and Memory
    64/128GB 256/512GB
    4GB RAM 8GB RAM

    It will be hilarious that the best versions of Office Apps for a tablet will be running 2-up side-by-side on an iPad :D
  • Reply 18 of 133
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    One of the very few android features I really really want. It would help with productivity substantially for my uses.
  • Reply 19 of 133
    d4njvrzfd4njvrzf Posts: 797member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    I don't know how that would work. The entire ecosystem doesn't appear to be designed to make that work.



    For example, imagine you have an iPad for family where 4 of the people play Infinity Blade. The game was bought and they all want to play it when it's their time. The game is 1.80 GiB. But right now, your game details are stored with the app which means that you would need that game installed 4x for this to work. Does that make sense? I don't think so.



    But lets say space is infinite or they resolve the problem by storing apps clean in a general repository in iOS 8 but with every developer updating the million apps instantly so that apps are stored clean, like with Mac OS X. How do you switch users? On a Mac it can take many seconds to change the UI and load the app and that's with a faster system. If RAM is until 8 GiB I'm not sure you can store all these family accounts in memory so it's there at the push of a button. Even if you could there are power usage concerns by using RAM. So you are either dealing with speed or battery life.

     

    One should also take into account that the OS X desktop environment is quite a bit more complex than Springboard, with all sorts of background services running and what not. As logging in for a single user already takes much longer on OS X than it takes for iOS to set up the home screen, it doesn't make much sense to extrapolate the multiuser experience on OS X to that on iOS.

  • Reply 20 of 133
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    knowitall wrote: »
    Better multitasking is welcome of course, but this is only a small improvement and the demo is unimpressive, I hope (and expect) that Apple makes it a lot easier to work with.
    The biggest problem of the iPad, that it can't be used as a replacement of a laptop for me, isn't addressed by this.
    Fixed that for you

    It replaced my laptop. So I think it's relative to what your use is. For me- it's a much better replacement.
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