Having proven itself to be a technology super power in recent years, drawing ever nearer to Apple’s fall line up has left many anxious to see what innovative new twists the company may bring to its traditionally simplistic line of products. It has now been revealed that Apple is working on several significant hardware and software updates for the iPad, including two 12-inch iPads codenamed “J98” and “J99” reports Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac.
Originally planned to launch in 2014 with the roll out of iOS 8, plans for Apple’s split-screen application for the iPad Air could be introduced as an exclusive feature to iOS 9 by the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Development of the iPad feature, intended to rival the capabilities of the tablet’s competitor, Microsoft Surface, was halted during the run up to the launch of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Apple Watch due to Apple diverting their software engineering resources and attention to their recent major launches. However, now they may well be ready to bring the refined and polished dual-viewing mode to the tablet for good.
Gurman explains how the most recent versions of the iPad’s split-screen software Apple have been working on may support 1/2, 1/3 and 2/3 views, depending on which apps are in use. The update will allow users to compare various apps simultaneously as well as splitting Safari tabs and will increase productivity on the iPad significantly.
The feature has been developed specifically for the upcoming 12-inch iPad Pro, a larger model than the standard 9.7-inch iPads currently available, although leaked images of dummy models look somewhat larger. Sources have confirmed to Gurman that prototype models of the new hardware are already in testing at Apple although no official launch date has been decided upon. Given that the split-screen feature has been deliberately designed for these extra large iPads, there is the possibility that the software will be deliberately held back to launch as a unique feature of the iPad Pros.
On top of this, Gurman reports that Apple is working on further developments to allow consumers to capitalize on their additional iPad screen space, including an updated version of Siri and Notification Center. This comes as an alternative to merely enhancing the size of the current iOS interface. Other potential updates for iOS 9 include possible user profiles, allowing multiple users to share one iPad but with entirely individual apps and settings, and the hardware may well be receiving a USB support.
The news of the new iPad Pro and iOS 9 features comes alongside news of the new iMac. While rumors are a flurry online right now, very little can be known for sure until official reveal at the WWDC this summer.
[Image credit: Mian Amir]