The Apple keynote demonstration of the multitasking features of iOS 9 looked nice so as soon as the public beta of iOS 9 was released I installed it on my iPad Air 2. I didn’t install it on the iPad mini 3 or the iPhone 6 Plus since it was beta and I wanted to keep them bug free.
The new features worked so well on the big iPad that I soon installed the beta on the mini. I still have the iPhone without the beta since it’s my only phone.
Having used the iPad Air 2 with the iOS 9 beta for weeks, there are three features that have rocked my world. They’ve done this by making me more productive. I’ve come to use these features all day every day in my work, and even though they are in beta form they work very well.
The first feature that is making a difference is the QuickType onscreen keyboard. Using the keyboard as a touchpad is fantastic given the amount of text editing that I do. I touch the keyboard with two fingers and move the cursor around the screen. What makes this work so well is the precision with which the cursor can be placed. Selecting text for copying and pasting is just as precise.
The SlideOver feature is great for quickly getting at an app while running another. I use it frequently to get quick access to the Mail app while I’m doing something else.
I just slide the panel in from the right edge of the display and there’s my mail. I can read and respond to important email right from the SlideOver panel. When I’m done I slide it back to the right and I’m back in the main app.
SlideOver also lets me choose other apps for the panel by sliding down from the top of the screen. A scrolling strip of all apps that work in SlideOver make changing the app in the panel a breeze.
Multitasking (split screen)
Apple wasn’t the first to get split screen multitasking, but its implementation is really nice. By sliding the SlideOver panel to the middle of the display it will share the screen with the other app that’s running. Both displays run independently of each other and both are live. This makes it easy for using one app for reference and the other for taking notes.
I use the split screen for different purposes, but my most used task is dealing with press releases. I get around 300 press releases each week day and getting through them is a time consuming chore. It doesn’t take nearly as much time using the iOS 9 split screen feature.
As displayed in the image above, most of the PRs come in via email with just a single headline. That makes it hard to tell if it is an item of interest, so with the Mail app on the left half of the display and the Safari browser on the right I can tap a headline in the email and see the PR open on the right. I can go through a volume of PRs in short order this way.
Note that the split screen feature only works on the iPad Air 2, not on earlier iPads nor on the iPad mini. If you want to play you have to pay and get the latest iPad.
Need more supported apps
Unfortunately, only some of Apple’s own apps can be used in either SlideOver or in the multitasking. This should change over time as third party app developers adapt their programs to work with these features. I’m especially hoping Evernote will do so quickly as that would really make my work easier.