Maybe someone on the Quantopian team can address this better than I can, but I'll take a stab at it.
The history() function as well as the data returned by the pipeline ARE split adjusted. They are split adjusted as of the backtest date.
What does this mean? The prices returned by these functions are the split-adjusted prices one would have seen on the date that the pipeline or history() was run. To test this, let's use our WABAC machine to go back in time to 10/20/2010...
The 'current' 10/20/2010 price for AAPL is at $309. If we get pricing, using our history function or pipeline, for the day before on 10/19/2010, we get AAPL close of $309.65 a share. Because there were not any stock splits overnight (between 10/19 and 10/20), $309.65 is how much one would have needed to buy one share. $309.65 was the the 'real' price. That was the amount of hard cash deducted from ones account to buy one share on 10/19/2010.
Note that history and pipeline return a range of data over the previous n days. If there were no stock splits during that range then the returned prices will simply be the actual 'real' prices for those days. If there were no stock splits during that range, the history and pipeline functions simply lookup ACTUAL values for those days and return them. Period.
This makes sense. We want the backtester to reflect exactly the data one would have seen on a particular backtest date.
Now, if AAPL happened to have a 2:1 stock split effective on 10/20/2010, what would that look like? First, the current 10/20/2010 price would be $154.50 and not $309 (each share is worth only half the value but there are also twice as many shares outstanding). If we now get pricing, using our history function or pipeline, for the day before on 10/19/2010, we see AAPL close of $154.825 a share. This price was 'adjusted' for the stock split as of 10/20/2010. $154.825 is NOT how much one would have needed to buy one share on 10/19. $309.65 was the 'real' price. The adjusted $154.825 price is simply a mathematical construct to make it easier to compare 'apples to apples' (excuse the pun). Without adjusted prices, it would look like AAPL stock shot up 100% in one day.
On Quantopian, the historical prices are split-adjusted as of the backtest date.
On Yahoo, the historical prices are split-adjusted as of the current date (ie today). The adjusted prices start with the current date and march backwards 'adjusting' for each previous split. By the time Yahoo gets to 10/19/2010 it has adjusted for splits that hadn't even occurred as of 10/20/2010.
When adjusting for splits one needs to specify the 'as of' date. Different 'as of' dates may yield different adjusted prices based upon the timing of any splits. This is also why one cannot save history data, and compare it, from one day to the next. History will get 'adjusted' data with different 'as of' dates (ie the backtest date).
Maybe as clear as mud?