While many have framed the redesign to Apple’s new operating system for iPhones and iPads, iOS 7, as a response to rhetoric that Apple’s software has begun to look “stale,” “boring,” and “outdated,” Instapaper founder and early Tumblr employee Marco Arment thinks that Apple had a different strategy in mind.
Rather than simply reinvigorating consumer excitement by giving them something new to look at, Arment thinks that Apple’s big changes are meant to force developers to focus on the iOS platform for the next few months.
He compares it to the release of the iPad in 2010. Rather than figuring out how to bring their apps to Android, many iOS developers instead spent time looking at how to make their apps work on a tablet form-factor device.
As we’ve covered before, the changes that iOS 7 introduces will require more than a simple update. If developers don’t want to look out of date, they’re going to have to rethink how major aspects of how their apps work.
Arment thinks that this will have the greatest impact on developers of apps that are on both iPhone and Android devices:
“iOS 7 is also going to be a problem for cross-platform frameworks. Fewer assumptions can be made about the UI widgets and behaviours common to all major platforms. And any UI targeting the least common denominator will now look even more cheap and dated on iOS 7, since the new standard on the OS is so far from the old one.”
He also predicts that developers who were planning big redesigns that would apply to both likely had to go back to the drawing board to figure out how to make their plans not look out of place with the new look coming to Apple’s platform:
“[W]hatever app developers were planning to do this fall is probably on hold now, because everyone’s going to be extremely busy updating and redesigning their apps for iOS 7. Anyone thinking about expanding into another platform now has a more pressing need to maintain marketshare on iOS.”
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