A new report from 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, who has a strong track record in predicting the future of Apple’s software, says that Apple will be building split-screen multitasking into iOS 8, the next major update for its mobile devices. This split-screen functionality will resemble these features as seen in recent Samsung tablets and the Microsoft Surface, the report claims. This comes hot on the heels of a new jailbreak tweak that adds almost exactly that kind of multitasking to iPad called “OS Experience.“
Split-screen functionality is something that Microsoft has used to target the iPad in advertisements for its own tablet efforts, and something that is often requested by users in forums and editorials online. The feature in iOS 8 would allow two apps to be used side-by-side, but also make it possible for people to drag things like images, video and text from one app into the other. Apple is also working on a way to let apps running next to each other interact with each other directly while running, too.
It only works in landscape mode, per 9to5Mac’s report, and it is said to be targeted at the larger 9.7-inch iPad specifically, so it’s unclear whether it’ll also work with the iPad mini. This would go a long way to making the iPad an even more capable notebook replacement.
iOS 8 looks to be packing a lot of improvements, including the possible introduction of a Healthbook app which would work with fitness and medical devices, and improvements to Maps with the addition of transit directions. Some of this could be pushed back to an iOS 8.1 update, 9to5Mac cautions, but overall, it looks like the next update will still bring a healthy number of changes even if parts are released at a later date.