Signs of a split-screen multitasking facility have been discovered in the iOS 8 code.
The ability to run two or more apps simultaneously had been rumoured for Apple’s next mobile operating systems prior to WWDC 2014.
However, no mention was made of the feature during Apple’s keynote address.
Now one app developer has discovered evidence of the feature within the iOS 8 developer beta’s code. Stroughton Smith tweeted: "So… just in case there was any doubt left… iOS 8’s SpringBoard has code to run two apps side-by-side. 1/4 size, 1/2 size, or 3/4 size."
SpringBoard is the hidden app used to manage iOS’s homescreen. According to Smith, iOS 8 contains the ability to let you run apps in half the screen, leaving space for another app to run in the other half.
The reference to apps running in a quarter of the screen might suggest the ability to run as many as four apps simultaneously on iPad, but then Smith appears to be quite specific on the whole "two apps" thing. Meanwhile, mention of a three quarter size could hint at a layered or windowed effect, much like you get with a desktop OS.
All of this is mere speculation, of course. But at the very least it seems to confirm suggestions that Apple is finally set to embrace proper multitasking in its mobile operating system.