iOS 9: Multi-User Support, Split-Screen Mode On iPad
The iOS 9-related rumors have been aplenty during the past couple of days, and a report earlier today keeps the ball rolling in suggesting that Apple is prepping support for multiple users in a future software update. Additionally, there could also be a very interesting dual-app viewing mode, and given that many iOS users have been hoping to see such features for a long time, this is arguably the most exciting iOS 9 tidbit to date.
The source of this report is 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, who seems to have the inside scoop on many of Apple’s future plans. Today, as well as corroborating the idea that a 12-inch or thereabouts iPad “Pro” may be on its way, he’s also spoken about a key feature that could be introduced with iOS 9 – split-screen apps.
The ability to use one or more apps on a device with a display the size of the iPad Air’s is something that the iOS community has collectively yearned for over the years, but as yet, nothing has happened in this regard. If this report is to be believed, though, split-screen multitasking could be here as soon as iOS 9, and the unannounced larger iPad, in particular, would be able to take full advantage of such a feature.
Apparently, Apple wanted to introduce split-screen app support with iOS 8, which would have given iPad users license to run two apps side by side on the latest software. However, with the Apple Watch and other priorities consuming time and resources, the project was put on hold, and since the wearable is now out in the wild, Apple now looks to be picking things back up.
As well as split-screen, another long-awaited feature may be on the cards. Multi-user support has been a feature of Android tablets for a while, with Google having added smartphone support with Android 5.0 Lollipop. Rivals of the iPad running Microsoft’s Windows, such as the Surface Pro 3, can also store the data and settings of more than one user, and Gurman’s source believes that iOS will soon offer similar functionality.
Apparently, “several users” will be able to share the same iPad but retain their own apps, documents, media and other personal info, and since many groups and families share tablets as they would a desktop computer, it’s definitely time that Apple presented users with such an option. In addition to the general consumer, Apple also sees multi-user capabilities as important to the “enterprise and education sectors,” so it seems that this feature could be among Apple’s priorities.
The split-screen mode could make the first iOS 9 beta when it’s released after the Worldwide Developers Conference next month, while multi-user support might not arrive until slightly later down the line. Regardless, let’s just hope that these major gaps in Apple’s mobile software are not left unchecked for much longer.