With iOS 9, Apple introduced a whole slew of multitasking features including picture-in-picture, so I can watch a video while using another app. Even though this was technically already possible on the Mac, there hasn’t been an easy way to get a video to overlay another window so I can focus on both at the same time. Well the new Fluid Browser solves that problem, quite magnificently I might add.
Fluid is its own web browser, but it’s not meant to replace Safari or Chrome for my main usage. Instead, I open up Fluid and go to a website where I want to play video, like YouTube or Netflix. The video itself will enlarge to fit the width of the browser window. Then magically, if I click somewhere else on my desktop, Fluid will float above the other windows and even has adjustable opacity so I can make the video as prominent on screen as I want.
iOS engineers must keep their eyes on the jailbreak scene. In the past, popular jailbreak tweak Auxo showed what iOS’s approach to multitasking should be like years before Apple made its best ideas part of the core operating system.
Let’s hope this pattern holds with Alympus. It’s a new tweak that radically improves, for the better, iOS 8 multitasking.
When iOS 9 rolls out to the public this fall, it’ll be iPad users that appreciate it most, thanks to the many improvements Apple has made to multitasking. One of the biggest is Split View, a feature that’s exclusive to the iPad Air 2, which lets you run two apps side-by-side — just like you would on your Mac.
Split View lets you read articles in Safari while composing an email in Mail, enjoy a novel in iBooks while taking notes in the Notes app, and talk to friends via iMessage while organizing your schedule in Calendar.
But is Split View as game-changing as it looks at first glance? You bet it is.
Almost from the start, iPad users have begged and pleaded with Apple to add a missing feature: split-screen multitasking.
Split-screen multitasking is the ability to run two or more apps simultaneously, side by side, just like you can on a desktop computer. But iOS, of course, is the antithesis of traditional multitasking. You can have only one app on the screen at a time.
That may be about to change. Apple is rumored to be adding multitasking to the iPad in iOS 8, which is expected to be shown to developers at next month’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference.
With split screen multitasking, you could write a paper in Pages on the left while researching in Safari on the right. You may even be able to drag and drop items between the two apps, like photos or chunks of text.
For some, this would be nirvana. Better multitasking would turbocharge the iPad, especially for work, right?.
Microsoft loves to crow about the Surface 2 tablet’s ability to multitask, which in Redmond’s eyes makes the tablet appear more suited for work than watching cat videos. Some iPad users have been lobbying for it for years. The feature has been the subject of plenty UI mockups, design videos, and jailbreak tweaks.
The jailbreak tweak called Auxo did card-based app switching in iOS 6, and then Apple came along and fully implemented the idea in iOS 7. Auxo, which started as a concept that went viral online, was suddenly obsolete.
A successor to Auxo has been in the works for quite some time, and now it’s available for jailbreakers to install in Cydia. Auxo 2 doesn’t reinvent iOS 7 multitasking, but the tweak builds upon it by adding more controls and customization.
There have been several jailbreak tweaks over the years that have attempted to revolutionize the concept of multitasking in iOS. Few, if any, have come as close as ProWidgets, a new widget framework that’s available in Cydia now.
I say close because I don’t think ProWidgets solves a better way to multitask on the iPhone and iPad. However, it is a valiant effort that allows other developers to create third-party widgets that live outside of the traditional app experience.