Samsung popularized the idea of having detached video panes so you can multitask as you watch a video. Apple hasn’t nailed this feature yet and I don’t think they’re interested in it.
But if you truly want to be able to detach videos into a separate pane that can be dragged around, while letting you compose a text or read a mail, here’s what you need: VideoPane.
VideoPane is a Cydia tweak from the legendary Ryan Petrich. In its v1.0, the tweak seems to work just perfectly. The tweak works with all popular video apps like YouTube, Netflix, the recently launched Dailymotion and even Ryan’s own DisplayRecorder. The app also works for videos running on Safari, Facebook, Twitter and iTunes.
Once installed, VideoPane gets enabled automatically. When a video loads, a popup dialog asks if you’d like to detach the video. Tapping on Detach detaches the video.
The detached pane is tiny but it almost fills the width of the iPhone. It can be dragged around and positioned anywhere on screen. It stays on top (for obvious reasons) and it fits to a grid whenever you move it around.
The design itself is minimal with a play/pause button, a full-screen toggle and a close button.
What is interesting is that you can assign Activator Actions specifically for the tweak. A double-press, for instance, can be used to play/pause the video. Or as a toggle for full-screen.
VideoPane also supports transparency although it isn’t fully-refined or fully-usable. By default, when you double tap on the video pane, it becomes a little transparent so you can see things under the pane. This comes in handy when you are reading something that is behind the pane and you don’t want to keep moving the pane around.
I think this tweak will be the precursor for some really cool multitasking capabilities being explored in iOS.
The tweak is on Cydia’s BigBoss repo and can be purchased for $1.99.