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Summary:

There are a lot of references to iPad split-screen multitasking in the iOS 8 SDK, according to developers.

Man using Apple iPad tablet with finger on touchscreen on desk
photo: pressureUA / Shutterstock

Prior to Apple’s annual WWDC developer event, it was rumored that Apple was going to show off an iPad split-screen multitasking feature, similar to a feature present on both Microsoft and Samsung tablets. WWDC ended without a mention of the feature, but according to developer Steven Troughton-Smith, references to the function are littered throughout the iOS 8 SDK.

As Troughton-Smith points out, the number of references to split-screen multitasking in iOS 8 is not an accident, and we’re likely going to see the feature introduced in the future, possibly when Apple introduces new iPad hardware in the fall.

On Wednesday night, Troughton-Smith tweeted that he’s been able to get it working in a limited, hacky way on an iOS simulator. It wasn’t easy. Here’s a video:

Based on the code and guidance that he has Troughton-Smith tweeted out, it appears that iOS can run apps in full-screen, half-screen, quarter-screen, and three-quarters screen modes. This could mean that an iPad could display, say, a skinny list of incoming emails or a Twitter feed at the same time as another app.

The feature will work on the iPad Air, and won’t require a bigger “pro” iPad as some had surmised. As of now, the split-screen stuff doesn’t work in portrait mode. Of course, this demo is hacked together and might not reflect what Apple is testing internally. Regardless of how split-screen multitasking is ultimately implemented for the public, it seems Apple saved some goodies for later this year.

 

  1. What a blatant Windows 8 rip-off, but it wouldn’t be the first time. No doubt this will be hailed as innovative.

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    1. Huh? Are you somehow saying that outside of Windows 8 split-screen doesn’t exist? And what’s even more interesting, is that you haven’t even seen iOS 8, or have any it interprets that sort of functionality.

      I am willing to be that it works better than Windows Phone 8, but we’ll see.

      Anyway, using your logic, since Apple was one of the first companies to introduce a touch screen on a phone, then Windows Phone, and well as Android, are copying Apple (according to BusinessWeek, the Simon Personal Communicator, by IBM, was the first “touch screen” phone. It wasn’t terribly successful, cost $899 and sold about 50,000 units. It also vanished into the annals of history after eight months).

      Then came the iPhone came the iPhone, which inspired inspired every cellphone that came afterward.

      So, if you think about it, the iOS 8 may have–according to you–have appropriated split-screen, though Microsoft apparently has stolen the entire phone.

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  2. This would SO be under the NDA – if it were true. Take with a large dose of salt.

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  3. Jonathan Mergy Thursday, June 12, 2014

    All very exciting.

    Now if it just had multiple logins, some more local storage, a physical keyboard, etc. it would be great! (and a real laptop!)

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  4. Editing a comment, even if it timed out after three or four minutes, would be really useful.

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