If rumors prove true, Apple will be introducing a feature in iOS 8 that tablet owners all over have wanted: Split-screen multitasking. I say ‘tablet’ because as the moment, it seems that Apple’s planning for this feature to be exclusive to the iPad. This wouldn’t be much of a surprise, given that apps on a phone are small enough – imagine cutting them in half. It’s much more realistic on a larger display.
Once this feature gets rolled-out, things could get interesting. While Microsoft has offered such a design with Windows RT, Apple could one-up things by allowing data to be shared between apps. Imagine editing a photo in mobile Photoshop, for example, and then dragging the result over into a word processor that’s loaded up in the opposite half of the screen.
What I think would be great here is if developers could specifically target this sort of cutting-in-half functionality, and have their apps scale accordingly. While watching a sports event, for example, you could keep scores displayed in big fonts on one side, and browse the news on the right. Really, this kind of flexibility could greatly enhance the usability of a tablet.
I think a feature like this is long overdue, so hopefully it’ll quickly bleed-out to the competition. Samsung’s offered this kind of functionality on select devices, but it’s far from being that common. We need it to be.