Apple is planning to allow users to run two apps on their iPad at once with its iOS 8 update, according to a report by Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac. The two apps will run side-by-side on the tablet’s screen to make it easier for users to share information between them and reference content in each application. That’s a big step from the current state of Apple’s mobile operating system, which only allows users to run one app at a time.
In addition, the multitasking change could come alongside new rules about inter-app communication, which will make it easier for developers to pass information back and forth between different applications.
That would satisfy plenty of developer complaints about the current state of affairs on iOS, and would ease tight sandboxing restrictions that Apple has placed on apps that run on the iPhone and iPad.
The multitasking system would be similar to what Microsoft has in place for users of its Surface tablet, and would help cover one of the major deficiencies between the iPad and its competitors. Both Microsoft and Samsung have highlighted the fact that users can run multiple apps at once on their tablets as a reason why customers ought to stay away from the iPad.
If split-screen capabilities do come to the iPad, it’s unclear what tablets will be able to run apps side-by-side. Older tablets like the original iPad and the iPad 2 could end up getting left out in the cold because of their relatively underpowered hardware compared to Apple’s newer offerings.