If we're honest, many iPad users have looked longingly at one particular feature that our Microsoft Surface-using brethren have had for several years: the ability to use multiple apps at the same time.
This fall, when iOS 9 is released, iPads will gain new multitasking features to make us more productive, which will seem to make a larger "iPad Pro" even more likely. The new features seem too perfect for a larger screen for it not to exist. Let's take a look at what's coming.
First, there's Slide Over (Figure A), which allows users to temporarily pull a second app out from the side of the iPad without leaving the first one entirely. The effect is to slide the new app over the other—hence the name. It's meant for quick jobs, like responding to a text message, making a note, or looking something up quickly on the web before pushing the app away and returning to the prior task.
Slide Over in iOS 9.
Split View (Figure B) is Apple's take on Snap, the Windows feature that can run multiple apps side-by-side in a near-full screen view. In Apple's implementation, which works only on the iPad Air 2 (launched last October), two apps can be used side-by-side. Both are active and usable at the same time, with multitouch allowing users to even scroll and interact with both apps simultaneously, though you'll need pretty nimble fingers to pull it off.
Split View in iOS 9.
Text and images and other content can be copied and pasted between apps, and users can touch-and-drag the divider between the apps to make one bigger or smaller. The apps will dynamically redraw themselves to accommodate the increase or decrease in screen size on the fly.
Finally, there's Picture in Picture (Figure C). It works just like the rarely used feature on your television—when watching a video or while using FaceTime, you can tap the home button and the video will scale down to a corner of the display. Then any app can be opened and the video will keep playing in the corner, allowing the user to reply to an email or iMessage while they watch a movie or (perhaps more likely) to look up that actress to see what other films she's been in.
Picture in Picture in iOS 9.
All in all, iOS 9 will make for a nice bump in iPad usability, especially for on-the-go business people who might feel restricted by the current iPad's one-app-at-a-time scheme.
Have you been pining for iPad multitasking? What do you think of Apple's implementation of it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
- Tim Cook reaffirms his belief in the iPad's potential
- Apple/IBM partnership came from Apple recognizing its own limitations
- IBM unveils its first 10 enterprise apps from its partnership with Apple
- IBM and Apple unveil eight more enterprise iOS apps
Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.