Feature Article

May 14, 2014

Is Apple Bringing Split-Screen Functionality to the iPad?

Rumors abound for what features iOS 8 could be bringing to the table when Apple releases the next iteration of its mobile operating system. iOS 8 is expected to launch sometime in fall of 2014, but one speculated feature that may be included with the release is the ability to run and view two separate applications at the same time in a split-screen format.

Split-screen multitasking is already a useful feature of popular desktop operating systems, and extending this functionality to the iPad helps blur the lines between desktop and mobile computing. Reportedly, the feature is designed in accordance with Apple's full-size models, like the iPad Air which measures out to 9.7 inches. As of yet, it is unclear if this feature would extend to the smaller iPad mini screen, or if it would even be desirable to use at that size.

Such a feature would have long-reaching benefits in both business and recreational settings. For example, users bringing in their own iPad in accordance with BYOD policies would be able to have reference documents open on one half of the screen while typing up an e-mail that summarizes them, while IT specialists could keep a close eye on the corporate data network during peak operating times while performing their own diagnostics. For fun, users might have a YouTube video open in one screen that gives advice for a game that they are playing on the other half of the screen.

As of right now, the iPad is essentially a “unitasking” device, since only one application can be displayed at any given time. Expanding the capability of an iPad to allow for two simultaneous applications with iOS 8 would mean that true multitasking would be possible on the device, and app developers would be likely to take advantage of this feature quickly. Apps that interact with one another would allow for new and unique applications of mobile technology on the iPad. 

Edited by Alisen Downey

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