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iOS 9's split-screen modes signal bigger iPad in the works

Gregg Keizer | June 10, 2015
iPad-only features in new OS finally bring multi-app, multi-window multi-tasking to Apple's tablet.

Milanesi interpreted other Federighi comments of Monday as vetoing Apple producing its own iPad keyboard in an attempt to make a 2-in-1 analogous to Microsoft's Surface Pro. "Look at what they showed with the iPad, with the keyboard becoming a touchpad," she said of a Federighi demo of controlling the cursor in a document with a two-finger gesture that could use the entire screen, even overtop the on-glass keyboard. "To Apple, touch needs to be horizontal. They're not interested in a hybrid."

Federighi also talked up how iOS 9 will make existing third-party Bluetooth keyboards better and more productive, another clue to Milanesi that Apple would not craft its own accessory.

Gottheil countered, saying he's not ready to give up on his prediction -- now years in the making -- that Apple will build its own keyboard, then marry it to a larger iPad for a Surface competitor.

"[A keyboard] makes more sense if you're making a larger iPad," Gottheil argued. "Others have proven that those kinds of devices can be fairly successful."

Apple has launched revamped or new iPads in late October or early November the last three years, and there's no reason to expect different this year. If so, a larger iPad -- with or without an Apple-branded keyboard -- would probably see daylight then.

Both Milanesi and Gottheil pointed out, as have countless bloggers in the last 24 hours, that iOS 9's Split View and Slide Over are not, by any stretch, original ideas. Microsoft's Windows 7 debuted with "Snap" -- a side-by-side view -- in 2009, and the feature was promoted to an even more prominent position in Windows 8 and 8.1. Microsoft has, in fact, used the multi-tasking, multi-window capabilities of its Surface and Surface Pro to poke fun at the iPad in television spots.

"Is that copying? Sure," said Gottheil. "For Apple, it's whatever works. I don't think that any company, not even Apple, exerts any pride there."

Milanesi was more diplomatic. "At the end of the day, it's true it's copying," she said. "People are always borrowing, everyone is looking at everyone. But I always get the feel that Apple goes an extra step. In iOS 9, you swipe down and change the app [in the secondary role] then and there."


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