Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Apple does little but keeps app developers busy

Apple collected a lot of tech reporters together for an event to make a big announcement. Everybody held their breath, guessing at what the next big revolutionary change would be in the mobile space. What huge leap would we see in smartphone technology? According to Mobile Marketer's Chantal Tode, this amounted to not a lot except that the Apple iOS update poses challenges to existing apps in App Store. Yes, there is an iPhone 4GS, the next version of the ever popular smartphone, but its not ground-breaking. Instead, it was time for the operating system software, the "face of the phone" to move forward.

And this represents a dilemma for many people. Unless you are desperate, you're not going to buy a 4GS, knowing that the chance is greater than ever of an iPhone 5 with a great new screen and cool new stuff being just around the corner. If you are the owner of the iPhone 3 (like me), with a device that is running slower and crashing more than ever, will you even have access to the new iOS upgrade to hopefully fix some of your issues introduced by Apple's previous update? That could give your phone a few months more life (hopefully not screw it up even more), perhaps putting you in the running for an iPhone 5 (not me, I'm going to try Android next time).

And for app developers, the guys and girls building all the apps you find in the App Store, the 200 new features that could help some apps work better, break others, and finally completely replace others still, make for a busy time. The iOS software is tired, it need some TLC to make it more desirable, and hopefully add some of the missing essential business features (rich text emails for example). It needs to allow me to get notified of things that are going on with less pop ups. But any major change to an operating system represents a challenge for developers. In testing, in new development to benefit from new features, in quick fixes and late nights.

Of course, if you don't want to have to worry if your business's mobile app will work on iPhone 4GS, 5, Android, Windows Mobile, etc, etc, then it is worth considering developing using open standards like HTML5. Otherwise known as good old "web development". With some work, a mobile optimized website can avoid the constant arms race against for each vendor you want to support, giving you a consistent, easy to use and highly functional mobile website or app.

Thanks Apple, I won't hold my breath until your next big smartphone breakthrough. Mobile web optimized apps are already on their way, and companies like Consected are making them more about configuration and self-contained solutions, and less about development.

A post from the Improving It blog
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1 comment:

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