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Guest Post: iOS 8.0.2 is Already Here. Does it Truly Alleviate Developer Concerns?

Introduction

Although Apple has launched the iOS 8 on 17 Sep 2014, it had already started encountering problems with several pioneer users. Developers too had expressed several concerns about the iOS8 as below:

  • Apple’s Swift Programming Language – will it ever be popular with so many languages already around?
  • Additional Connectivity for Apps such as the HomeKit and HealthKit features – what if the connectivity drops?
  • Split screen issues – would two complex apps running side by side fight for sparse resources?
  • More API’s – could they cause unforeseen problems?
  • Increasingly cloud reliant – how reliant can the cloud be?

The Update Fiasco

However as things went past, the company was forced to release an upgrade to its iPhone and iPad operating system in the form of the update 8.0.1. However, this again caused issues, so Apple had to pull of the 8.0.1 update after 60 minutes of availability. Hence, the update 8.0.2 was released to fix a fix. According to the company, the iOS 8.0.2 update also includes improvements and bug fixes that were originally present in the iOS 8.0.1.

Apple had spent a significant amount of time in its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2014 keynote having focused in the iOS 8. However, the iOS 8 took the flat iOS 7 design and only rounded it up with new features. Hence, rather than a dramatic redesign, what came forth was a mobile Operating System update to tie everything together under the theme of ‘convergence’, which had only resulted in the release of the buggy software that required two updates within days of its launch.

An Update to Fix a Fix

The iOS 8.0.2 update also includes improvements as well as bug fixes that were originally in the IOS 8.0.1. Apple’s list of fixes included in the 8.0.2 release is as below:

  • Cellular network connectivity and touch ID issue on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 +
  • HealthKit apps can now be made available on the App Store
  • Better support of Ask To Buy for family sharing for in-app purchases
  • Fixes an issue where ringtones were sometimes not restored from iCloud backups
  • Fixed an issue that prevented some apps accessing photos from the photo library
  • Improves the reliability of the reachability feature on iPhone 6 and iPhone six plus
  • Fixed an issue that could cause unexpected cellular data usage when receiving SMS/MMS messages
  • Addressed an issue related to 3rd party keyboard apps which could become deselected when a user entered their passcode
  • Fixed a bug that prevented uploading of videos as well as photos from Safari

Apple’s Bendgate

Despite Apple’s efforts, the ioS 8 series of updates have spelled trouble for Apple. It had previously delayed the introduction of third party Healthkit compatible apps to the app store due to a bug in iOS 8. In yet another fiasco for Apple, some users reported that their iPhone 6 Plus models were bending in their pockets.

Further iOS8 Developer Issues

During the initial days of the iPhone, most iPhone app developers did not face any significant issues. The iPhone presented itself with just one screen size. After the iPhone came the iPAd and a few more screen sizes. Nevertheless, until now, Apple has had a mobile ecosystem that is based on the iOS. This was extremely beneficial for developers, who could write an app just once, and then make it work everywhere.

In contrast to Apple’s world was Android, which comprises of several thousand devices with different screen sizes. This means that the complexity presented by Android slowed down development in comparison to Apple, giving the latter an added advantage in the competitive apps development market.

However, the entry of the iPhone 6 and the 6 plus has complicated the market as the total number of screens presented by Apple has multiplied to seven different sizes. Also, because the app store requires that all apps work on all screens right up to the iPhone 5S, this means that updating the old apps and even writing new apps has become very complicated and expensive.

Conclusion

All these issues have put the iOS 8 series of software in a precarious situation. At the moment, many older apps do not present well on the larger iPhone, especially the iPhone 6 plus, since these apps are not enhanced and cannot work with the latest system. Hence, though Apple has released iOS 8 earlier this month, its attempt to issue patches has it on a rocky start already. Developers are literally asking for patience as a little over one week is hardly enough time.

Thousands of Apple developers need to update their apps in accordance with iOS 8 and its updates, and there is already fragmentation in the ecosystem, which means there will be longer development times and the involvement of higher costs. However, some fragmentation is simply unavoidable, as devices get older and as Apple ceases software support. Now that iOS8 has been launched, the iPhone 4 will stop receiving support from Apple as well as developers.

Let’s face it. Developers will face a more Android like ecosystem, which has to accommodate thousands of devices with different screen sizes that have been manufactured by many handset manufacturers. Many developers are also planning to support the smaller iPhone that consumers are presently using them.

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