I rarely quote Bloomberg stuff (because of the “Big Hack” story that was purely a fake report), but this story about iOS 13 messy development is interesting. “Inside Apple’s iPhone Software Shakeup After Buggy iOS 13 Debut” reveals many interesting tidbits.
Last year, Apple delayed several iOS 12 features — including redesigns for CarPlay and the iPad home screen — specifically so it could focus on reliability and performance. At an all-hands meeting in January 2018, Federighi said the company had prioritized new features too much and should return to giving consumers the quality and stability that they wanted first.
Features delays come with each major release of iOS. iOS 12 was not an exception but it was much more stable on day one compared to iOS 13. If Apple could focus on quality for iOS 12 why they lost focus for this with iOs 13?
The new development process will help early internal iOS versions to be more usable, or “livable,” in Apple parlance. Prior to iOS 14’s development, some teams would add features every day that weren’t fully tested, while other teams would contribute changes weekly. “Daily builds were like a recipe with lots of cooks adding ingredients,” a person with knowledge of the process said.
I can imagine the mess. As of this writing, I’m currently on iOS 13.3 beta stream and beta 3 seems to fix most of my complaints and issues. On the surface, it certainly seems as stable as iOS 12.
The new approach calls for Apple’s development teams to ensure that test versions, known as “daily builds,” of future software updates disable unfinished or buggy features by default. Testers will then have the option to selectively enable those features, via a new internal process and settings menu dubbed Flags, allowing them to isolate the impact of each individual addition on the system.
I’m surprised that this was not the case already. I’m curious to know how this all works as building new APIs, these cannot be disabled if stock apps depend on them during development and testing.
On iOS 14:
…iOS 14 is expected to rival iOS 13 in the breadth of its new capabilities, the people familiar with Apple’s plans said.
As iOS is maturing, I see less and less groundbreaking new features coming up down the line. Yet, iOS 14 seems a major release. Let’s hope the release will be smoother.