We’re just days away from the public release of iOS 7 and that means millions of users will be upgrading to a new experience and expecting their apps to work just as well as they did on iOS 6. Is your app ready for real world success? Here are a few things that have been on our mind here at uTest the last few days.
All Apps Must Support iOS 7
Apple has begun accepting iOS 7 submissions, but did you know that they are requiring all new app and app update submissions to be iOS 7 compatible, optimized for Retina and support the 4-inch screen for the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c? This means that whether you were planning on releasing an iOS 7 update or not, your app and updates must run on iOS 7 before Apple will allow them in the app store (even if you were just fixing bugs in your iOS 6 version).
While compiling your app against iOS 7 will be simple and straight-forward for some developers, those who have custom UI elements (not found in UIKit) may find their interfaces distorted or out of place in the new OS. And, while you don’t have to take advantage of new frameworks such as Dynamic Type, Motion and updated multitasking, you do have to be cautious about depreciated APIs your app may have been relying upon. Find out more iOS 7 by reading our eBook, 7 Tips for iOS 7.
New Hardware Means a Need For More Coverage
Even if you have been testing your app against Apple’s beta and Gold Master versions of iOS 7, September 20th, brings us another milestone: two brand new devices. While many describe the iPhone 5c as a last year’s iPhone in new clothing, it is in fact a brand new device and while some of the components have remained the same, it is a new configuration of them (including a larger battery).
The iPhone 5s is a completely brand new device with an untested (in public, that is) processor. In addition to ensuring your app works well under anew operating environment for existing device users, you will want to make sure that the app works as well on new devices with new hardware.
A 64-bit Surprise
Speaking of the iPhone 5s, Apple has brought 64-bit architecture to the mobile world. This is really exciting for the world of mobile as apps optimized for the 64-bit architecture can run both faster and more efficiently. Obviously your mileage may vary – complicated apps with many calculations will see greater improvements than simple apps, once optimized. Apple has made it easy to compile your apps as both 32-bit and 64-bit versions in one binary. However, it is recommended that developers first support iOS 7 and then begin work to support 64-bit conversion (rather than trying to do both at once). There will be a few watch-outs while converting (particularly around the use of NSInteger and CGFLoat).
The addition of 64-bit architecture also means you should examine your testing strategy. Beyond the need to test on 64-bit device (in this case the iPhone 5s) you’ll also want to understand how the 32-bit version of your app functions after making the necessary adjustments for the upgrade.
New App or Upgrade App?
In our early tests with iOS 7 we’ve seen that many organizations are working to just get their iOS 6-optimized apps working with iOS 7. However, as we near the launch of iOS 7, we’ve seen customers who have created whole new experiences from scratch for iOS 7. Recently, Clear announced that they would be selling a separate iOS 7 only version. If you are putting in the development time to create a whole new experience, should you sell your app as a separate product from the original? Will we be seeing a renaissance of the transition to iPad where some developers stuck with universal apps that work on both the iPhone and iPad while others chose to create and sell a new experience under a different name?
Developers Take Notice
We’re not the only ones who believe iOS 7 will have a major impact on the iOS development industry. VentureBeat recently cautioned developers of the upcoming changes. Are you ready for the challenge and potential reward? Are you going to take advantage of all iOS 7 has to offer? I do have to say, we are excited and looking forward to seeing new and innovative apps pass through our testing community in the weeks and months to come.