Remember last year when hackers showed that iOS 8 had a hidden split-screen mode?
I have some good news: We're finally going to get to use it. iOS 9 is just reaching beta release today, and along with a new trackpad trick, smaller footprint (only 1.3GB to upgrade), and the new Apple News app, we're also going to gain a new multi-tasking feature.
Pocket Now, PCWorld, and Liliputing report that the next iteration of iOS will sport new features which will let users run two apps at once (split-screen), play a video in a pop out window, or temporarily open an app over an existing app (slide-over).
Apps can share equal screen space, or you can give more display real estate to one if you so choose. Multi-touch input will allow you to work with both at the same time, and drag-and-drop content between them.
Not every app needs so much space, though, and sometimes you want to consume content from one while working in another. For that, Apple’s bringing iOS 9 picture-in-picture support, letting you detach videos and keep them on top as you interact with other apps, or even keep their audio active in the background.
Most of the new features are going to be available on the iPad Air, Air 2, mini 2, and mini 3, but the more resource intensive split-screen mode is only going to work on the iPad Air 2.
The features are obviously going to have to be integrated into apps before we can use them, but that is probably going to happen by the time the first iOS 9 public beta is released in July. The full version of iOS 9 is due to be released later this year.
Do you know what struck me about this?
That even with the massive amount of computing power in the iPad Air, it's still not up to the task of running two apps at once. I find that more than a little silly, and it's also frustrating. I upgraded to the iPad Air because I was expecting to get the new multi-tasking feature, but I and many other tablet owners have been shut out.