Apple’s iPad has thus far been a one-user device. If an email sent to a developer from Apple’s Worldwide Developer Relations to be believed, though, a multi-user account feature for the iPad could be in development.
On Monday, AppleInsider reported that an anonymous developer received the following response from Apple after requesting for multi-user support for the iPad.
“After further investigation it has been determined that this is a known issue, which is currently being investigated by engineering,” Apple said in the reply.
While that doesn’t immediately confirm a multi-user account feature will be available in the near future, it comes at a curious time. Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference 2012 (WWDC) is to take place next month on June 11 – 15. Apple is widely expected to unveil iOS 6 – the “future of iOS”.
The iPad has been publicly pitched as more of a shared device unlike the iPhone. Even so, it remains to be tied to one single user profile, which apparently wasn’t the case – a report published by the Wall Street Journal a few days before the first iPad’s introduction cited sources saying that Apple put in “significant resources” in order to make the iPad “intuitive to share.”
Instead, the original iPad launched without multiple user profiles. Some app makers have responded by adding support for multiple users.
But as CNET points out one major obstacle with introducing multiple user accounts would be the issue of storage.
The iPad has only ever sold in three storage configurations (16GB, 32GB and 64GB), and by adding a Retina Display on the third-generation model, some applications have ballooned in size. Apple’s also done things like increased the quality, and thus the size, of video content in iTunes. Add in multiple users with their own apps and content, and problems could arise — all things that could require workarounds before such a feature arrives.
Marco Arment - developer of Instapaper (via The Loop) takes the above reply with a pinch of salt. He says that the quoted reply is Apple’s standard go-to response for such suggestions.
But we hope that Apple brings the multi-user account functionality in iOS 6.