Apple may finally be bringing legitimate multitasking to the iPad. The well-connected Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac is reporting that starting with iOS 8, users will be able to run two apps simultaneously on the tablet's screen. For years, iOS has allowed only one app to be displayed on screen at any given time. Apple's competitors including Samsung and Microsoft have latched onto this restriction and repeatedly bashed the company for adhering to the rule for so long, particularly with the 9.7 inches of screen real estate offered by the iPad. Sworn rival Samsung has been particularly vicious with its marketing campaigns, and Microsoft has also relied on multitasking as one of the chief differentiators between the iPad and its Surface tablet line.
To this point, Apple has clearly favored simplicity over the flexibility offered by running two apps at once. And it's hard to fault the company for this strategy, as the iPad still remains the most popular consumer tablet on the market. Ease of use has long been a huge selling point of iOS, and Apple is likely taking care to avoid making things overly complex with its split-screen multitasking. But perhaps the company is finally getting tired of claims that competing devices have grown "more productive" than its iPad.
9to5Mac also reports that iOS 8 will allow apps on screen to interact with one another; you'll be able to drag and drop content between them, for example. Apple is likely to unveil iOS 8 at its WWDC event in early June. Apple's focus with multitasking reportedly centers around the iPad Air, and 9to5Mac says it's unclear if the smaller sized iPad mini will offer support for the feature.