Apple shows off iOS 9, multi-tasking is finally (finally) a thing

There’s an interesting little debate in the world on what constitutes multi-tasking. Is it being able to jump between several apps on your device, or is it being able to do two things at once?

Both are technically valid, but this writer likes to sit on the side that says multi-tasking allows you to operate two things at the same time. We’re not suggesting that you drive a forklift and operate a chainsaw simultaneously to messy consequences, but rather let you write emails and surf the web on the same screen.

That’s the sort of thing you can do on a laptop, a desktop, or a device with a full operating system, allowing you to open applications like a mail reader or a web browser in a user defined window of their own.

But the iPad doesn’t quite let you do that, and instead only lets you load one app in a screen before jumping to another one. The jump to the next app is the multi-tasking, while a proper operating system — Windows or Mac OS — lets you really do a few things at once.

Good news, though, because Apple looks set to change that when its next mobile operating system is rolled out in iOS 9.


That was announced this week at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference, or “WWDC” as it has come to be known over the past two decades or so, and not just announced, but previewed, with iOS 9 coming for iPhone and iPad with better maps, an app designed to show you more of the news you want to read, the side-by-side multi-tasking support, and an improved version of Apple’s assistance application “Siri” which will now be proactive.

“iOS 9 is packed with more intelligence throughout, and delivers big updates to the apps customers use most — Maps supports public transit, a redesigned Notes app provides great new ways to capture ideas, and a beautiful News app delivers content that’s personalised to your interests,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering.

“With our new iPad features, users can take advantage of the power of iPad, working in two apps at the same time with Split View, Slide Over or Picture-in-Picture.”


A “proactive” Siri is an interesting one, and essentially, the voice assistant will be aware of what you’re going regularly and make suggestions about what you can do before you start typing it in, similar to what Google Now currently does on the Android platform.

At points, it will even listen to what you’re going and work out patterns in your day, offering suggestions and settings for various apps depending on use, such as a regular afternoon loading of a music player when you’re about to head home from work.


The improvements to Maps also looks quite interesting, and that’s because Apple is now going to start talking to transport authorities around the world to provide train systems and stations. In Australia, that’s not happening just yet, with America and China some of the first places to get the support for Apple’s transit maps.

Hopefully Australia will be part of it soon — possibly by launch — especially since many of our transit networks tend to work with third-party apps already.


Availability for iOS 9 isn’t for a while yet, so you have some time to wait until either the next version of Siri or multi-tasking arrives on your iPad, but you should see it later this year sometime in the spring. We’d guess September-ish, because that’s more than likely when the next iPhone will be announced.