Feature Article

June 12, 2014

iPad Split-Screen Mode Prototype for iOS 8 Leaked

Last month, experts speculated that the iOS 8 operating system would feature a split-screen feature that would allow the device to run and display two apps simultaneously on the same screen. While this feature was not announced at last week's WWDC, the iOS 8 software developer kit (SDK) was. By poring over some of the more intricate sections of code within the SDK, developer Steven Troughton-Smith uncovered code references to the feature, and has found a way to get the feature to partially work on the iOS 8 iPad simulator.

The split-screen functionality is far from perfect, as it only exists as a partial strand of code that may have been scrapped from iOS 8 in general. For example, only one half of the screen will actually display an app on screen, while the other half remains pitch-black with inactivity. Even without the second half of the split-screen working, it appears clear that the frame exists to implement this feature as soon as the kinks are worked out.

Regardless, the feature allows apps to take up specific portions of the screen, ranging between a 50/50 split and one where one app only takes up a quarter of the screen while the rest is filled with the other. This allows for effective management of screen real-estate, as some apps require more space for detail than others.

Though iOS 8 will be shipping this fall, there is no guarantee that the split-screen feature will be included in the release. Considering the fact that it was not announced even though it would have been the first mobile OS to have the feature is quite telling, and hints that the idea may have been scrapped entirely. The concept has still not been officially confirmed by Apple, but there is still the chance that it will be included at the last minute. Of course failing that, the feature could also remain in development until it is ready to be released on iOS 8.1 or even iOS 9.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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