Apple could enhance the iPad experience by adding a new, split-screen feature to iOS 8, people familiar with the enhancement in development have told 9to5Mac. This would allow iPad owners to use two apps on a single screen in landscape mode, a feature often mentioned as giving an advantage to the Microsoft Surface tablet, which, by the way, is struggling to gain traction in the market.
In addition, Apple is said to be working hard at giving developers the ability to design apps that interact with each other. If we look at the current version of iOS, apps have access to “public” data such as the camera roll after the user grants access to the app, but the real challenge is sharing additional data.
On the other hand, the split-screen feature could be easily enabled system-wide: after launching the second application, Apple would alter the apps running simultaneously to run in portrait mode. Of course, this is only one part of the story.
The feature has opened up the door for the Surface to be a true laptop replacement, and will further herald the iPad as Apple’s vision of the future for mobile computing.
In addition to allowing for two iPad apps to be used at the same time, the feature is designed to allow for apps to more easily interact, according to the sources. For example, a user may be able to drag content, such as text, video, or images, from one app to another. Apple is said to be developing capabilities for developers to be able to design their apps to interact with each other. This functionality may mean that Apple is finally ready to enable “XPC” support in iOS, which means that developers could design App Store apps that could share content.
Furthermore, Mark Gurman seems to have breathed new life into rumours concerning the bigger-screen iPad, which was said to have been put on hold. The split-screen feature could be key to the larger-screened iPad that Apple is actively developing for a launch either later this year or next year, he says.