As we reported in May, Apple is working on a split-screen multitasking feature for iPad apps for a version of iOS 8. The feature, akin to the key productivity function on the Microsoft Surface, was not announced at WWDC last week, but code references to the feature have been found across the iOS 8 Software Development Kit.
Now, developer Steven Troughton-Smith has dug further into the upcoming split-screen multitasking feature and has hacked the iOS 8 iPad Simulator to make the function partially work. As can be seen above, Safari is taking up half the display. The tweaking to the simulator is yet to completely unlock all functionality with two different apps running side by side, but this demonstrates that Apple has been definitely testing the feature internally.
Troughton-Smith has also put together a video showing the split-screen mode in action on the simulator. That video can be seen below:
It is unclear if the two finger swipe gesture will be the control for the shipping product, but that is the control Apple is testing internally.
I had to byte-patch UIKit to turn that on. It checks for an Internal install and also the titular plist key in com.apple.UIKit—
Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) June 12, 2014
The feature also allows the screen to be adjusted for apps to either take up 1/4 or 3/4 of the display, with the secondary app taking up the other 3/4 or 1/4 respectively. That can be seen in the images below:
iOS 8 will ship this fall, but a timeframe for split-screen iPad multitasking is unclear and has not even been officially confirmed by Apple. Perhaps the feature will be saved for iOS 8.1, iOS 9, a larger iPad model, or just cancelled altogether.