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With iOS 9, Apple iPad gets split-screen capabilities, robust multitasking

Apple's updated mobile operating system, iOS 9, gives iPads a handful of new features including split-screen viewing.

Apple's Craig Federighi demoing iOS 9's split-screen capabilities on the iPad. James Martin/CNET

During Apple's annual developers keynote at WWDC, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi announced the company's latest mobile operating system, iOS 9 . In addition to a refreshed user interface for the digital voice assistant Siri and a native News app, the update features a number of new tools specifically tailored for the iPad, Apple's tablet line.

One notable change is the iPad's digital QuickType keyboard, which can now switch to a digital trackpad. Using a two-finger swipe, you can select, drag and paste large chunks of text more quickly and easily.

Multitasking capabilities have also improved. When you switch out to other apps, you can preview your currently running apps on a full screen. With a single swipe to the side, you can also seamlessly switch between multiple apps. Swiping downward will bring in other applications as well.

To take advantage of the iPad's extra screen space, Apple has incorporated a split-screen view. You can now pin apps to stay side by side, which enables you to view and interact with two different apps at the same time. Apps that have video, like ESPN, will continue playing alongside other apps, and you can drag a video thumbnail around the screen for better viewing.

With these updates, Apple is playing catch-up with its competitors to some degree. Many Google Android tablets and phones, as well as Microsoft's family of Surface tablets, already have split-screen capabilities.

As for Apple enthusiasts, some of these long-awaited features are only supported by certain devices. While the slide-over feature for multitasking can be used on recent iPads like the iPad Air and the fourth-generation iPad, split view is only supported by the Air 2 due to its extra RAM and core processor.

This is a developing story. Follow CNET's WWDC live blog and see all of today's WWDC news.