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Friday, October 25, 2013

The impact of iOS 7 on mobile app developers

Anton Faulconbridge writes:

It’s the latest tech update that everyone is talking about; for good or for bad, iOS7 is here and it’s something that all mobile app developers need to take into consideration. So, how have these changes to Apple’s system had an impact on third party apps?

Face value

The first thing you notice when you start up iOS7 is the facelift that Apple have given their themes. The redesign has made it stark, minimal and yet dynamic in appearance, making full use of zoom and slide animations. This appearance is very different to the previous versions, making purpose built apps for Apple look outdated instantly. Many of the big players in the game like Twitter and Facebook were obviously aware of the significance of these changes and were able to release an update shortly after iOS7 was launched. Other mobile developers were not so fortunate and have had to completely overhaul their apps in an effort to keep them current.

How it feels

It isn’t just the look that has changed, but also the feel of how these apps operate. Previously, most apps worked on a layer base – clicking through navigation to get where you want to be. However, the minimalist nature of this update has forced many apps to adopt a more swipe-based interface. This means that now, instead of clicking through navigation menus, you simply swipe horizontally to get to the app’s most used features. This means that before, where many app developers only had to think about compatibility, there is now reason to consider the way in which the entire app works.


This really is the big issue when it comes to new software and mobile apps. If you haven’t been updating your app as the new updates roll in then you’ll probably find that your app no longer works effectively on the new systems and definitely no longer looks the part after the iOS7 drop. You might find that if your app requires a lot of memory to run then it will completely crash older devices or freeze on newer models. Unless you follow Apple closely and have a good idea of the changes that these updates will bring, a lot of the compatibility issues can only be worked out after the official launch.

Death of Novelty

Some of the most popular apps on the old systems include the novelty apps like flashlights and spirit levels, among others. Thanks to new additions to iOS7 these apps have been made completely redundant, forcing many mobile app developers to come up with new ideas for money making software. In a way this is encouraging for app developers as they created a feature so useful that Apple have integrated it in all their devices; however it is more than likely they received little or no compensation for their contribution. This means that many developers will need to come up with entirely new projects that are not already an existing feature of Apple devices but would be used on a regular basis – a very tricky task as Apple is constantly evolving.

So far we can see that iOS7 is having a massive impact on mobile app developers so far, and with various bug fixes and additional updates coming out this trend is set to continue.

Anton Faulconbridge is CEO of RantMedia, a mobile app development agency based in Cardiff.
Author: The Fonecast
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