iOS 8 rumored to introduce split-screen mode on the iPad →

Mark Gurman:

iOS 8 is likely to supercharge the functionality of Apple’s iPad with a new split-screen multitasking feature, according to sources with knowledge of the enhancement in development. These people say that the feature will allow iPad users to run and interact with two iPad applications at once. Up until now, each iPad application either developed by Apple or available on the App Store is only usable individually in a full-screen view.

I’m all for this feature, as long as it is easy to use.

While I think there are issues with split-screen apps on tablets, I think people can adjust. Things like keyboard focus may be weird at first, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been a problem on desktop UIs since the Lisa.

I would love to have a text document open next to a browser on my iPad. One reason I don’t use it much for writing is that moving between apps is slow. Even if iOS 8 doesn’t bring better inner-app communication, being able to see more will let many work faster on their tablets.

Gurman continues:

The feature is said to be designed with the 9.7-inch iPad display in mind, and it is unclear if the feature will work on the smaller-screened iPad mini. The feature is said to work exclusively in landscape mode, which allows for increased screen space. The feature may also be key to a larger-screened iPad, which Apple is actively developing for a launch either later this year or in 2015.

Differentiating iPad models by software would be new for Apple.

All Macs can run the same software, with the same functionality, except at the very high end of things. It is important to remember that iOS does fragment across devices of various ages, but a move like this is unprecedented. I’m not sure making the iPad mini a second-class citizen is the best idea.