Earlier this year, a rumor suggested that Apple could be planning to add split-screen multitasking support to the iPad in iOS 8. The Cupertino firm didn’t make any mention of such a feature during its WWDC keynote, but now that iOS 8 is in the hands of developers, it’s been discovered that references to split-screen multitasking are indeed in the OS’s code.
Developer Steve Troughton-Smith found that the SpringBoard in iOS 8, which is the home screen that you launch apps from, includes code that allows it to run two apps side-by-side. The code includes three different app sizes: 1/4 size, 1/2 size and 3/4 size. This means that users would likely be able to split their iPad’s screen evenly between two apps or have one app take 3/4 of the display while the other would take the remaining 1/4.
While iOS’s multitasking support is certainly better in iOS 7 and 8 than it has been in the past, the feature is still limited compared to other platforms. As iPad adoption continues to grow and users increasingly use it as their content creation device — and even sometimes their only computer — it makes sense for Apple to add more robust multitasking support to its tablet.
So… just in case there was any doubt left… iOS 8’s SpringBoard has code to run two apps side-by-side. 1/4 size, 1/2 size, or 3/4 size
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) June 9, 2014
So when will we see this split-screen multitasking feature officially launch? That much is still in the air. Apple could roll it out later this year alongside the public launch of iOS 8 and new iPad hardware, or the company could wait even longer to release the feature if it can’t get it right in time for iOS 8’s consumer release.