iPad Air 2 touch id gold

Apple is developing not one, but two new twelve-inch iPad models, codenamed “J98” and “J99”. Also, the firm’s doubled down on advancing productivity aspects of iOS with a much-needed dual-app multitasking mode and support for multiple users in iOS 9, a report Thursday by 9to5Mac alleged.

The same publication originally claimed side-by-side multitasking would debut in iOS 8 with the iPad Air back in 2014 so take today’s story with a grain of salt.

“Sources now say that Apple plans to show off the side-by-side feature for iOS 9 using currently available iPad models,” the article states.

Split-screen multitasking should be formally announced at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference next month, with multi-user support reportedly slated to arrive later this year alongside new iPads.

The split-screen multitasking mode is said to support 1/2, 1/3 and 2/3 views, depending on the apps. It’ll display either two different apps side-by-side, or multiple views of the same app.

“This would enable iPad users to see two separate Safari tabs, or compare a pair of Pages documents at the same time,” author Mark Gurman speculates.

Even though it allegedly works with current iPads, the feature was apparently conceived with a rumored 12-inch iPad in mind. Here’s one artist’s concept of split-screen multitasking.

Dual-app support is amongst key productivity features of the Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro devices that help set apart Microsoft’s tablet lineup from iPads.

Speaking of which, Gurman has learned from unnamed sources that 12-inch iPads are basically larger versions of the existing iPad Air 2, “save for additional speaker holes.”

Other features exclusive to larger iPads are being considered, too, including a revamped Siri and Notification Center.

As for the “J98″ and “J99” code names, one likely denotes a Wi-Fi-only model and the other a Wi-Fi + Cellular one. The report stops short of providing an exact timeframe for the device’s release.

In detailing multi-user support, Gurman writes that the feature should expectedly let multiple users maintain individual settings and user profiles on a single device, so that each has access solely to their own apps, documents and media.

The report cautions this capability has been pushed back from its planned WWDC debut and is unlikely to be ready for iOS 9 this fall. Reportedly, multi-user support could make a debut “later this year” or “next year”.

Split-screen multitasking and multi-user logins are two distinct capabilities iPad users have been craving for since the tablet’s inception five years ago. If both features make their way into iOS 9, the software will be a worthwhile upgrade from a productivity standpoint, don’t you think?

Source: 9to5Mac