Report: iOS 8 to get Windows 8-like multitasking and HD audio playback

Apple’s WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference) is just around the corner and the rumours and reports are starting to heat up about what we can expect. It’s only natural to assume we’ll get our first look at iOS 8 – but now we’re getting a clearer look at what will ship in the latest mobile OS thanks to Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac.

Multitasking on iOS has been oft criticised and poked at by the competition – particularly Samsung – for its limited nature. Applications in iOS 7 can only be opened one at a time, and have very little “Inter-App Communication” to share the load of tasks. Every app, essentially, runs as its own little “island” on the OS.

This leads to an unproductive workflow. As a basic example, on Android you could edit a picture in your favourite photo editor and then send it instantly via another third-party email application in one fluid process… on iOS you would have to open the photo editor, edit, save, close, open the email app, open the picture, then send.

In iOS 8, Apple is said to have rectified this in multiple ways.

First up is the opening up of an inter-app API. This would allow for the more fluid workflow found on Android and Windows Phone.

Second is the ability to run two apps side-by-side much like Windows 8 can do in its “snap” mode. To go beyond what is currently possible on Microsoft’s tablet however, content is said to be able to be dropped from one app to the other. Samsung also offers similar functionality in its tablet range.

It allows Apple to put the real-estate available on the iPad to better and more productive use. It is not clear whether Apple intends to allow this functionality on the smaller iPad Mini or whether it will be reserved for the larger iPads.

The last rumour is Apple is improving the audio quality of its devices this year by upping the current 24-bit audio playback of iOS 7’s built-in Music app which is limited to 48kHz. It is thought an accessory as part of the MFI (Made for iPhone) programme will be available to tap into the lightning connector and enable this high-definition audio playback.

It will reportedly arrive alongside an update to the company’s own official in-ear headphones.

What do you think about the features reportedly making this year’s iOS 8? Let us know in the comments.

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