iPad Apps Provide In-App Multitasking

While the iPad will not support the multitasking features presented by Apple last week at their iPhone OS 4 Preview until this fall, some developers have taken it upon themselves to provide solutions. Several new iPad apps feature the ability to run multiple instances side by side, allowing the user to manage web interfaces such as Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail simultaneously without exiting the app.

Multitasking for iPad [iTunes Link, $2.99] by Makayama Media presents the user with an 3-pane interface. The largest pane is an implementation of Safari, allowing the user to surf the web as they would in any other browser. The two other panes take smaller sections of the screen and contain implementations of Twitter and Facebook, allowing the true multitasked to update their Twitter and Facebook while browsing the web, all on the same screen.

IM+ [iTunes Link, $9.99] by SHAPE Services has been available on the iPhone for years now, and its new version is a universal app that is optimized for both the iPhone and the iPad. The iPad specific features include the ability to browse the web in a large pane next to a persistent buddy list. Users are able to continue chatting while browsing the web.

Multitasking Browser [iTunes Link, $2.99] by innovPixels is a web browser that includes the ability to browse multiple pages on the same screen. When the iPad is held in landscape mode, the main browser window shares the iPad display with a smaller browser pane specifically sized to run mobile web apps. The app comes with a set of over 20 web apps saved as bookmarks, such as Meebo, Facebook, Twitter, and Weather.com. Rotating the iPad into portrait hides the side browser and the main browser pane fills the display.

When iPhone OS 4.0 for the iPad is released this fall, the built-in multitasking feature will still not have the ability to run two separate applications side by side on the same screen, as these apps are accomplishing. These three examples of developer ingenuity prove that the iPad’s limitations can breed innovation.

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