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Matt Birchler had a go at making a mock up of a more advance iPad multitasking interface. Notable features include

  • three apps at one
  • a new, catagoriesed app picker
  • a dock for full screen apps

have a look.

It’s an interesting approach with some good ideas that takes a lot of cues from the mac. The dock in particular would be a complete mac paradaim that would be added in.

Solid iPad Multitasking Improvements but…

In my opinion, it would help improve a couple of friction points with iPad multitasking, such as the limit of two apps, the terrible app selector for multi tasking and the difficulty in switching back to full screen with one or more apps. To be honest though, improving on those aspects isn’t exactly the hardest of tasks to improve upon.

The categorisation of the multitasking app picker is a nice touch, but I believe the single greatest improvement would be to add a search bar similar to that which you get when you pull the home screen down. This would really help people who have a plethora of apps installed. Having said that, smart grouping (in a way where you could organise the apps) would help a lot too. I suspect most users rely on a few apps regularly in split view (for example safari or notes), with a few more much less frequently (for me that’s numbers. I want that full screen all the time). Letting users pick and organise would help avoid the situation where an app suddenly goes to the back of the queue and you have to scroll endlessly, uncertain of where it will turn up.

I’m also not certain about the dock idea. This seems like a port of a mac feature for the sake of it. If you started afresh, would you really want this feature? It’s not something that I’ve felt particularly lacking on the iPad but I do see the benefit of jumping back to full screen somehow. My biggest fear with a dock would be interference with control centre, after all, how could you distinguish between triggering these different features if they are dragged up from the bottom of the screen (drag on the left side or right side?)

Your move Apple

I was really hoping to see an improvement to the Multitasking window in iOS 10, and iOS 10.3 (I’m running the beta, and it hasn’t improved) but so far Apple has left it as it is. Almost anything would be an improvement upon the current situation. I appriciate the idea of using AI to determine what app you want to use, but the “what apps have you used most recently for multitasking” doesn’t seem consistent to me and often result in a lot of scrolling back and forth to find the app I really want. Hopefully we’ll see something coming soon in iOS 11, in the meantime, we can all dream.

How would you improve multitasking on the iPad?

[Video from Birchtree]

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