A first video look at iPad split-screen multitasking

Man using Apple iPad tablet with finger on touchscreen on desk

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.



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