Developing Perspective

#138: The New World.


00:00:00   Hello and welcome to Developing Perspective, developing perspectives of podcasts, discussing

00:00:04   news of note in iOS development, Apple and the like.

00:00:07   I'm your host, David Smith.

00:00:08   I'm an independent iOS and Mac developer based in Herne, Virginia.

00:00:11   This is show number 138.

00:00:12   Today is Friday, August 16th, 2013.

00:00:13   Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes, so let's get started.

00:00:19   All right, so I'm going to have two topics today.

00:00:21   I'm going to talk about a decision I made this week to go get aggressive with iOS 7

00:00:25   and then talk a little bit about what cheap iPhones might mean for developers.

00:00:29   So first, I'm going to talk about my decision this week to--

00:00:32   I think it was on Tuesday, Wednesday, something like that--

00:00:35   I decided to then at least have to get very aggressive with iOS 7 adoption.

00:00:40   And the story kind of runs-- I've chronicled this on this show a little bit,

00:00:44   and I think two or three episodes ago, I was talking about how the iOS 7 conundrum

00:00:48   and how it was going back and forth, and I really decided that I was going to,

00:00:51   as much as I could, try and support iOS 6.

00:00:54   I found that technically it wasn't quite as difficult

00:00:56   as I thought.

00:00:58   And supporting BackOS is always kind

00:01:00   of one of these tricky things, where it's good typically

00:01:03   for-- it's good for existing customers,

00:01:06   in that obviously if you know an existing customer

00:01:08   of your application who is now getting a free update

00:01:11   to your app that continues going forward into the future,

00:01:15   that's good for them if they're unable to update their OS.

00:01:19   And mostly I focus on that on people

00:01:20   who are choosing to not update their OS because their device

00:01:23   doesn't support it.

00:01:24   I don't really have too much patience in terms of like, it's just too much to think about

00:01:28   for people who intentionally don't update their OS when it's a free update that is being

00:01:33   pushed by the operating system provider.

00:01:36   But for whatever reason, if you're just like, "Well, I jailbreak and I can't, they don't

00:01:39   have the right jailbreak for that yet."

00:01:40   It's like, "I understand that, but I'm not going to get too worried about that in my

00:01:44   planning."

00:01:45   So I won't worry about the people who are running on a 3GS, who are running on a fourth

00:01:50   gen iPod touch, those types of people.

00:01:52   And I think about that a lot.

00:01:54   But the reality is, and this is something that I ran into this week, is that iOS 7 is

00:01:59   coming hard and fast.

00:02:01   And it's not like it's a surprise in the sense of, I've known ever since WWDC it was coming

00:02:06   this fall.

00:02:07   It seems like increasingly though, the definition of this fall is becoming very, very soon.

00:02:14   The definition of this fall is not going to be sort of the end of September, beginning

00:02:18   of October.

00:02:19   And the definition this fall is potentially as early as a couple of weeks from now.

00:02:24   I woke up this morning to someone was quoting, I think it was a Boy Genius report saying

00:02:32   Goldmaster on September 5th, which who knows?

00:02:35   I mean, I don't put too much stock in individual rumors.

00:02:38   But in general, it seems like all the rumors are trending early rather than trending late.

00:02:42   And I think we have as far as it can be confirmed by a single word from a Canadian with a beard,

00:02:49   pretty sure that the event's going to be on September 10th, I think it is.

00:02:55   And so we're pretty much narrowing in on an early September movement on iOS.

00:03:01   And it wouldn't surprise me if Apple is going to end up doing the thing where they split

00:03:04   this into multiple events.

00:03:06   They may introduce the iOS hardware and iOS software and things in the early fall and

00:03:11   then have a device event later, say an iPad and MacBook Pro, Mac Pro event some time later,

00:03:19   maybe in late September, early October.

00:03:21   That's certainly possible.

00:03:22   But from my perspective, what I look at

00:03:24   is I've got a handful of apps to update.

00:03:27   I've got-- let's see, I've got audiobooks, my recipe book,

00:03:31   feed wrangler.

00:03:32   I've got PodWrangler, my latest sort of new thing.

00:03:35   And I've got Check the Weather.

00:03:36   Those five apps are the things that I'm primarily focused

00:03:39   on working on right now, which is quite a lot for one person,

00:03:42   one developer.

00:03:44   It's going well.

00:03:45   And I was sort of trucking along,

00:03:48   adding support for iOS 6 and keeping backwards compatibility.

00:03:52   We've been doing this long enough.

00:03:53   That's actually not as difficult as it used to be in terms

00:03:55   of I'm pretty comfortable with making sure I do all

00:03:58   my things conditionally.

00:04:00   And it kind of reminds me a little bit of memory management

00:04:04   where back in the pre-arc days, you just kind of get

00:04:06   used to all the kind of retain release, auto release,

00:04:09   retain release, auto release kind of stuff.

00:04:12   And it became just kind of second nature.

00:04:14   And in a very similar way, that's

00:04:15   how it felt with backwards compatibility for me now.

00:04:18   I've just gotten used to it.

00:04:20   But now, essentially what I decided

00:04:22   is I don't have time to continue that backwards compatibility

00:04:25   support.

00:04:26   And it's not so much on the technical side.

00:04:28   It's mostly, and I think most significantly,

00:04:30   on the testing side and on the verifications side.

00:04:33   And all the things that you need to do--

00:04:34   I have a wide array of devices in my office

00:04:36   of all different versions and all kinds of things

00:04:38   that I try and test my apps on.

00:04:41   And having to test them on more than one thing

00:04:44   become-- it can very quickly become very problematic

00:04:47   in terms of the time and energy and effort it takes.

00:04:51   And so I just don't have time.

00:04:52   And so it's one of these things I'm kind of sad,

00:04:54   but I'm going to be dropping iOS 7-- or iOS 6 with support

00:04:57   on everything except for probably audiobooks

00:05:00   and potentially my recipe book.

00:05:01   Those two, they're the least amount of work

00:05:04   to support the new stuff, because they're not

00:05:08   the kind of applications that will take advantage of things

00:05:11   like the new multitasking or any of those kind of big,

00:05:13   features in iOS 7, and their UIs are fairly straightforward to update.

00:05:17   And so I think I'll probably be able to move those up or leave those supporting old past

00:05:23   OSs.

00:05:24   With audiobooks, I want to keep old OSs even if just because my iOS stats page that I publish

00:05:30   where I keep track of all the iOS version stats are coming from audiobooks, and the

00:05:34   data becomes fairly meaningless if I only support a single version in the same way.

00:05:38   But anyway, so that's what I'm doing there.

00:05:41   But I'm getting aggressive on the other ones.

00:05:42   And I think it's one of these things that, overall, makes

00:05:46   me a little bit sad.

00:05:47   I always try and do what's good for customers.

00:05:50   And I think in this case, the best thing for customers

00:05:52   is that I'm dropping it, because the app will be better

00:05:54   as a result.

00:05:55   But I know there's going to be people

00:05:56   who that's going to disappoint, who are looking forward

00:05:59   to the app but won't be able to use it now,

00:06:01   or have supported me in the past, have bought my apps,

00:06:04   and now aren't going to.

00:06:05   But I have to be forward looking.

00:06:07   I have to understand that what I really need to do

00:06:09   is ship really quality apps on day one.

00:06:11   And I think that's really what I'm going to do.

00:06:13   And that's where my focus is going to be.

00:06:15   And I will say, it is kind of fun.

00:06:18   See, in the last couple days since I dropped support,

00:06:21   it reminds me very, very much of switching to Arc,

00:06:24   where suddenly you're able to focus in a slightly better way.

00:06:29   The fundamentals don't change, and you're still

00:06:31   doing a lot of the same work.

00:06:33   But it really helps me to be able to just do whatever

00:06:36   need to do in a short term, and it kind of works.

00:06:42   Yeah, so that's what I'm doing.

00:06:43   And so if you're listening to this kind of in order,

00:06:48   and potentially the timing may be kind of funny,

00:06:50   because if you just listen to 136, where I said, hey,

00:06:52   I've decided I'm going to support iOS 6,

00:06:54   and I'm coming back and saying not so much.

00:06:56   So that's kind of an interesting thing, but that's what's

00:06:59   happened.

00:07:00   All right, next thing I was going

00:07:01   to talk about a little bit is the-- oh, one thing I should

00:07:06   I was going to mention before I dive into my next topic,

00:07:09   I've gotten a lot of people asking questions

00:07:10   about how the process typically works

00:07:13   with submissions for new OS.

00:07:14   And so I just want to walk through that quickly.

00:07:16   So in the last-- I don't know, for most of the major OSes,

00:07:20   application submission opens, if not on the day

00:07:22   or very soon after, the goldmaster ships.

00:07:25   And that depends on if it's an actual goldmaster

00:07:27   or if we've had a couple of fake goldmasters

00:07:29   where there's a goldmaster and then there's a goldmaster II.

00:07:32   But typically, when they're in the goldmaster ships,

00:07:36   Then maybe a few hours later, potentially a day later,

00:07:38   something like that, pretty soon thereafter,

00:07:40   iTunes will begin accepting submissions for that version.

00:07:45   And typically, the OS will be launched about a week later.

00:07:48   And so typically what you really need to do

00:07:50   is have your app updates as ready as you can possibly

00:07:53   have them, so that as soon as they open the floodgates,

00:07:57   you're downloading the GM, you're

00:08:02   recompiling your app, doing some quick smoke tests,

00:08:05   and then submitting it.

00:08:06   And typically in my experience, that's kind of what I do.

00:08:08   I want to make sure that on the previous version,

00:08:10   whatever the most recent beta is,

00:08:12   I want to have it as ready as possible,

00:08:15   have everything ready to go,

00:08:16   and I'm mostly just recompiling and submitting.

00:08:19   And then at that point, I do the intensive,

00:08:21   the slightly more intensive testing,

00:08:23   and if I need to, I'll reject a binary and resubmit it.

00:08:26   But I'd rather be as early in that queue as I possibly can,

00:08:29   because being, sort of having one of the few apps

00:08:33   on the first day is sometimes helpful.

00:08:35   You don't want to get too crazy about that.

00:08:36   If your app's not ready, it's not ready.

00:08:38   And don't push it.

00:08:39   But if you're trying to get something in on day one,

00:08:41   you want to be ready when the GM ships, which

00:08:43   seems like going to be early September, very early September.

00:08:47   So get cracking.

00:08:48   All right, so I'm going to talk a little bit about what

00:08:50   a cheaper iPhone, I think, means for developers and for me

00:08:53   as a developer.

00:08:54   So it's interesting, first in one sense,

00:08:56   I'm going to end up having to buy probably two iPhones

00:08:58   this fall, which is always kind of funny,

00:09:00   Because I usually try to have all the different devices

00:09:04   that I'm targeting, and especially the ones that are

00:09:06   going to be most used by most of my users.

00:09:10   And so in this particular case, it

00:09:13   seems like this new device that's widely rumored--

00:09:16   whatever the government calls it, the 5C.

00:09:19   Who knows if that's actually going to be the name.

00:09:21   But a lot of people are talking about Apple introducing

00:09:23   a brand new device that's going to be relatively inexpensive,

00:09:26   that's going to let Apple attack a different part of the market

00:09:32   than they do currently and in a different way.

00:09:34   And so it'll be a lower cost device potentially sold

00:09:37   without contract or those types of things

00:09:40   in order to try and keep the prices as low as they can.

00:09:43   And I think that's exciting.

00:09:44   I think as a developer, what I really want

00:09:46   is I want as broad of an audience

00:09:47   as possible for my applications.

00:09:49   And the more people who are on that platform, my chosen

00:09:53   platform, which is iOS, the better for me

00:09:56   in terms of I think about Android,

00:09:57   or I think of multi-platform.

00:09:58   I think of all those kinds of questions.

00:10:00   And they come up.

00:10:01   There are things that I think about that there's

00:10:03   a lot of people who use Android on a regular basis.

00:10:05   And I think a lot of those people

00:10:07   use it because it was the free, cheap option for them.

00:10:10   And it was pushed by their carrier onto them.

00:10:12   And so I'd love for Apple to be able to attack that

00:10:14   and potentially broaden my customer base as a result.

00:10:18   And so that's, I think, at a pure numbers perspective,

00:10:21   is really exciting.

00:10:22   That I think having a cheaper device out there,

00:10:25   That's almost potentially in the same ballpark as an iPod Touch

00:10:29   in cost will be really, really powerful.

00:10:32   And I'd be really curious to see what they end up

00:10:34   doing with the iPod Touch.

00:10:35   I wonder if they push the iPod Touch even lower

00:10:38   in terms of if they can do things with the iPod Touch

00:10:42   to drive its price even lower in comparison to the 5C

00:10:46   so that people who are really budgetarily constrained

00:10:51   are able to do it.

00:10:52   And that'd be even better.

00:10:53   I want lots of users because at the end of the day,

00:10:56   it's very hard to make a living in the app store.

00:10:58   It's incredibly difficult.

00:11:00   I know very few people who are able to do it

00:11:02   because it is a very competitive place.

00:11:05   And there's a tremendous supply of apps.

00:11:10   And so if you look at the sort of supply and demand side

00:11:12   that drives prices down, drives margins down.

00:11:15   And so what I wanted-- anything Apple can do to raise the demand

00:11:17   side, to increase the demand for applications,

00:11:20   definitely a good thing in my books.

00:11:21   Definitely something that I'd encourage and look forward

00:11:23   to Apple doing.

00:11:24   So generally, that's, I think, a good thing.

00:11:26   I do think it's going to be interesting.

00:11:28   And I'm still toying around with this.

00:11:30   But I am very curious if I should make my day-to-day carry

00:11:34   phone the 5C.

00:11:35   And I wonder about that, mostly because I

00:11:37   think it's potentially going to become the most widely used

00:11:42   device, certainly of new devices, this fall.

00:11:45   There's certainly going to be a lot of people who

00:11:47   buy whatever the new one is, the 5S,

00:11:49   or whatever you want to call it, kind of its working name.

00:11:52   But I think there's going to be a tremendous swell of people

00:11:55   working on this cheaper device.

00:11:57   And I want to make sure that I have a good understanding

00:11:59   of their experience.

00:12:00   And exactly what that means-- I may end up having both

00:12:02   and switching between them.

00:12:03   Hopefully their SIM cards are compatible with each other.

00:12:08   But it's an interesting thing that I

00:12:09   think we're going to potentially have, for the first time,

00:12:13   an environment where there's an underpowered or a less

00:12:18   powered device is potentially the best selling device.

00:12:23   And especially in the context right now,

00:12:24   so you could say that to some degree with the older ones,

00:12:27   the 4 and the 4S.

00:12:28   But everything I've always heard is

00:12:29   that they don't sell quite as well as the new one.

00:12:31   And I wonder if this will be a changing point there,

00:12:34   because it will be differentiated in a different way.

00:12:36   It won't be an old iPhone.

00:12:38   It'll be a brand new iPhone that's just different.

00:12:40   And I think different is easier to sell to a customer

00:12:43   than old.

00:12:43   That's the phone now my friends had

00:12:47   a couple years ago.

00:12:49   I want something new.

00:12:51   Whereas none of their friends have a 4C with a purple back

00:12:54   and a flare all over it.

00:12:57   So I think it'll be interesting.

00:12:58   And I think generally what that means is I'm just going to--

00:13:02   I think it really reinforces, I think, my gut that, oh,

00:13:06   well, it's a little bit wary of it in the near term.

00:13:10   Going iOS 7 only is going to be fine,

00:13:13   because I think the market is opening up

00:13:17   in front of it, rather than necessarily having

00:13:19   to worry too much about the behind side of things.

00:13:21   And I think it'll be really interesting.

00:13:23   I think if they can really drive the-- be aggressive on price,

00:13:26   which seems like they're trying to do,

00:13:28   I think it would be only good for developers.

00:13:30   I mean, I would love for the default device someone

00:13:34   gets who doesn't really care to be an iPhone 4C.

00:13:37   If that's the case, that's great for me as a developer.

00:13:40   It means I can just kind of stop thinking too much about Android,

00:13:43   or I can stop thinking too much about Windows Phone,

00:13:45   or all these other things that I kind of, I wonder about.

00:13:47   I don't think I'll ever get there, but I wonder about.

00:13:51   I think in general it would be nice to not really have to wonder about it or think about

00:13:55   it too much and just understand that, you know, it's like a high enough percentage of

00:14:00   people are on my platform.

00:14:01   I can just worry about my platform and be driving ahead as a result.

00:14:06   All right, that's it for today's show.

00:14:08   As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns, complaints, I'm on Twitter @_davidsmith.

00:14:13   email me, david@developingperspective.com.

00:14:15   Otherwise, have a great week, have a great weekend, happy coding, and good luck with

00:14:18   all your iOS 7 updates.