I read a lot of articles and listened to some Podcasts covering iOS 9 multitasking support on the different iPad models. It is clear that only the iPad Air 2 will support Split View, which allows you to run two apps next to each other at the same time. Sometimes the assumption is though, that also Picture in Picture and Slide Over are not supported by older devices. This is not true! These features are also available on the iPad Air and the iPad mini 2 and 3. A matrix of supported features on the different devices can be found 👉🏻here.
Considering the CPU power of the different devices it is not surprising only the Air 2 will support Split View. The computing power of this device with its A8X chip is so much better compared to all the other devices… Slide Over and Picture in Picture are also quite heavy on the CPU. Only devices with at least an A7 chip are capable of handling this (Air, mini 2/3). It’s only logical that Apple discontinued selling the iPad mini 1 this week. I recently switched from a mini 1 to a mini 2, and the difference is crazy.
People will argue that real reason only newer devices are supported an only the flagship model will be able to do everything is that Apple wants to push iPad sales numbers. It’s quite true… Apple needs to do something to distinguish the iPad from the iPhone. Up until now, the iPad was basically not more than a bigger iPhone. These new features are helping to make the iPad a very different device. This and the fact that only new devices will support all the features will help Apple in selling more devices. Tablets are not replaced as fast as phones. With phone contracts being renewed mostly in 2 year timeframes, it’s obviously easier to sell more phones than tablets. At the moment there is no real reason to buy a new device if you are using an iPad 2 for example. Everything is still supported. It’s a bit slow, but average users might not even notice. According to some journalists the iPad was doomed because of the sales numbers before WWDC. The huge changes and the amount of work that had to be put into the development iOS during the transition from iOS 6 to 7/8 probably had an impact on the lack of new features for the iPad during the last few years. Even OS X was recognizably suffering from lack of development resources. I think after WWDC with the announcement of Multitasking there is a great future ahead for the iPad. Who knows what kind of new features are waiting to be released. There are rumors for an iPad pro with an even bigger screen too.