Split-screen multitasking is coming to Apple’s mobile platform in iOS 8. It wasn’t demoed during WWDC earlier this month simply because it isn’t ready, but it’s there.
Developer Steven Troughton-Smith recently found code hidden in iOS 8 beta 1 that relates to the highly-anticipated feature. With a bit of tinkering, he was actually able to get the early code to run on the iOS simulator for Mac (that explains the mouse cursor in his clip below).
Most expected the feature would allow for a 50/50 screen split but there’s more to it as the app can be resized to take up a third, half, or a three-quarters of the screen. This ability to resize the windows could be immensely useful when running, say, a mapping application alongside a chat window or e-mail pane.
What the clip doesn’t show us, unfortunately, is Apple’s vision of how a second application will look or how users will switch between active apps on the screen.
Either way, it’s a step in the right direction as users have been calling for a split-screen feature since the iPad first launched. As large-screen phones and tablets continue to infiltrate our personal and professional lives, the ability to see more than one thing at a time is more important than ever.
Google is expected to introduce a similar feature for Android at its I/O conference later this month. Several Android partners have already hacked the OS to enable split-screen functionality but at present, it isn’t a native Android feature.