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.
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) June 12, 2014
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.