iOS 8’s split screens and Microsoft’s split identity

At 9to5 Mac, Mark Gurman reports that Apple may be adding some kind of multitasking (really simultaneous app display) to iOS 8, at least on the iPad; LG and Samsung have added the capability to their Android smartphones in addition to tablets, at least for some apps. Then again, maybe it won’t. The article includes the de rigueur rumor hedge:

…iPad split-screen multitasking… could be pushed back to iOS 8.1 or cancelled altogether…

…or never exist at all.

The article also includes a brief concept video by Sam Beckett showing how adding an app could be added into Apple’s current app-switching user interface. Thera are some nice elements to it, but overall  it’s closer to the tacked-on approach of LG and Samsung and clunky compared to Microsoft’s approach.

One aspect of the rumor that seems odd is that the feature would be reserved for the larger iPad. After the long wait to get a Retina display on the iPad mini and the price it commands, it seems incongruous that Apple would reserve such a feature only for the larger iPad. After all, this has at least as much to do with resolution as screen size.

iOS gaining access to multiple screens would chip away at another advantage the Mac has versus the iPad, but the article (which appears on a site with “Mac” in its name) ignores the feature in that context. (Maybe it was written outside the hours of 9 to 5.)

Rather, starting with the headline, it discusses the feature answering a feature of Microsoft Surface. But split-screen app display is not actually a feature of Surface per se: it’s a feature of Windows and not even just Windows tablets. As the article points out, it’s true that Microsoft has cited multiple app display as an advantage of Surface versus the iPad in TV commercials, but again the article down’t mention Windows once.

That split-screen app display has been so closely associated with Surface when it’s actually a Windows feature merits kudos to the Surface team, or shame on the Windows team. or both.

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