Apple’s release of iOS7 is a big step forward for the approximately one million publicly available apps in circulation today. The new look and feel, coupled with over 1,500 (!) new APIs, make this the most ambitious release of iOS since its initial launch. Apple’s history suggests quick user adoption around the newest iOS. As the graphic below (drawn from Apple’s developer page) reflects, the vast majority of Apple users are running iOS 6.
This is the kind of uniformity that Android – heavily fragmented across its last seven releases – can only envy. But the magnitude of change represented by iOS 7, and the swiftness with which users are expected to upgrade, presents a major challenge for organizations and app owners. Current apps will likely need modification, perhaps extensive modification, in order to run properly and effectively on iOS 7.
The key questions to consider are:
- How to ensure the user experience of my apps will be as good (or better)?
- Will any regressions be introduced that affect the usability, functionality or stability?
- How will I know if users are experiencing problems in my upgraded app (other than waiting to hear complaints or read bad reviews)?
Given what we do at Appcelerator, it’s not surprising to learn we think a platform approach is the most effective way to manage the scale and potential impact of iOS 7 on an organization’s app portfolio. Here’s why:
- Automated testing is a must. Given the speed of release required, the volume of apps requiring modification, and the different form factors for each of the iOS devices just overwhelms any manual testing approach. Repeatability and reusability of test suites are crucial so that teams can iterate quickly across all the different device types, uncover problems early, and ensure a better app experience delivered more quickly.
- You need leading, not lagging indicators of user experience. Waiting around to hear whether/how/if users are experiencing problems is a recipe for a lot of unhappy users. By the time users have become fed up enough to let you know, it may be too late to win them back. You need advance analytics on everything from adoption and usage habits, to performance, to crash and exception rates. Put another way, you want to know the experience of your users as soon as – or even sooner – than they themselves do.
The good news is that we’re ready for iOS 7, and we’re here to help make you ready too. Last Thursday, we released our latest version of iOS 7 pre-release support (version 3.1.2 of our Studio and SDK), along with an updated version of our Appcelerator Platform. The Appcelerator Platform offers an integrated approach to building, testing and measuring the success of your iOS 7 app releases – as well as for any other apps on any other major platform. There will be another release of our Platform and products to coincide with the anticipated early September GA release of iOS 7.
While iOS 7 is going to require upgrades to apps, it may also serve as a catalyst for organizations who want to upgrade their overall mobility game. If so, you know where to find us!