Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Apple Reportedly Focusing Less on Monolithic Annual iOS Updates

Mark Gurman, Bloomberg:

Apple’s annual software upgrade this fall will offer users plenty of new features: enabling a single set of apps to work across iPhones, iPads and Macs, a Digital Health tool to show parents how much time their children have been staring at their screen and improvements to Animojis, those cartoon characters controlled by the iPhone X’s facial recognition sensor.

But just as important this year will be what Apple doesn’t introduce: redesigned home screens for the iPhone, iPad and CarPlay, and a revamped Photos app that can suggest which images to view.

These features were delayed after Apple Inc. concluded it needed its own major upgrade in the way the company develops and introduces new products. Instead of keeping engineers on a relentless annual schedule and cramming features into a single update, Apple will start focusing on the next two years of updates for its iPhone and iPad operating system, according to people familiar with the change. The company will continue to update its software annually, but internally engineers will have more discretion to push back features that aren’t as polished to the following year. 

The biggest news here is that Apple is reportedly adjusting their internal processes to try to reduce the demands of an annual update. But I’m not sure how much will change externally because this sounds a lot like the way they presently release iOS updates: still a focus on new features in the autumn, with some features debuting later in that major version’s release cycle. Apple Pay Cash, for instance, was announced at WWDC in June with the implication that it would be release with iOS 11.0, but it wasn’t launched until November with iOS 11.2.

If the changes are as modest as this report makes them out to be, how much of an improvement can we realistically expect in software quality?