Apple’s and developer relationships have touched another acid note. To the company hardware event Tuesday, where it announced new Apple iPad and iPad devices, Apple surprised developers with the news that it will release updated versions of its major software platforms, iOS 14, iPad OS 14, watchOS 14 and tvOS 14 on September 16, giving them less than a day to prepare.
The unexpected and accelerated timeline has left many developers struggling to prepare their apps for App Review and has complicated developers ’plans for iOS 14 launch day.
Some, like the famous podcast player, New, simply informing its users that its features expected for iOS 14 will not be ready.
Others are less forgiving, noting that Apple’s decision to release iOS 14 without looping in the developer community has added up, as a developer Steve Troughton-Smith said so, “A lot of unnecessary stress for developers in an otherwise stressful year.”
In addition, Apple’s decision impacts those developers who choose to wait to support iOS 14.
Typically, developers often take advantage of an iOS launch day to promote the new features of their apps via press releases, blog posts and social media. Coverage of news from app review sites can also include round-up of notable updates to favorite apps, or highlight those apps that have taken advantage of new iOS features in interesting ways.
This year, however, the developer community can’t worry about pursuing press releases and acknowledgments, since they now have to have their app ready for iOS 14 update ahead of schedule.
Consumers may also be affected by the surprise release, as some app manufacturers are warning users that their apps may not work properly on the new operating system until they are updated for compatibility. A high profile example is Nintendo, which he tweeted that its Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp game is not working after the update and asks users to wait before switching to iOS 14.
IPhone owners, however, are quick to update their software to the latest version. Prior to Apple’s developer conference last summer, Apple released the new iOS figures indicating its iOS 13 operating system, which debuted in September 2019, had been installed by 91% of all iPhones released in the last 4 years, and by 81% of all iPhones compatible.
This means that there is little time for iOS developers to update their apps before most of the iOS user base is upgraded to the new version.
This latest blunder follows months of strong rejections of the App Store by Apple, which also lead to a huge blow between Apple and Basecamp over their modern e-mail app, Hey, which has been rejected for in-app purchase rules. Apple’s increased attention to possible in-app purchase losses has also seen it reject the WordPress app to a point, forcing the company to he makes a rare excuse after being called publicly.
Now, Apple is fighting in court with manufacturer Fortnite Epic Games for Apple’s right to charge for Epic’s business when there is no other means to address the iPhone market outside of Apple’s App Store. A company like Epic doesn’t need to rely on the services Apple provides, such as distribution and Apple Pay, it supports, but is bound by Apple’s terms.
The developers have also taken note of how Apple describes its App Store activity in its judgments, calling it something that developers “reap the benefits” – a phrase that rubbed some developers wrong. After all, people buy iPhones for many reasons, but their ability to manage apps is high between them.
The developers also saw that Apple tried to rip off Epic’s Apple Developer accounts, including those for its connected game development platform, Unity, as well as Epic’s ability to supports its users through “Sign in with Apple”. These hardball tactics by Apple have made it clear to developers that Apple is ready and willing to exploit the developers ’reliance on Apple’s tools to punish any developers who go offline.
Then there’s the fact that Apple has been the focus of antitrust investigations into its App Store business which revealed how the company has cut special offers, despite its claims that the App Store is “an equal playing field.”
Research, Apple has updated the App Store rules to better explain their terms around the commissions and find a way for new game streaming services to join the App Store. But the result is that its rules have become so complex, With so many sculptures and exceptions, that some developers may be confused about what is allowed.
In addition to this growing wave of resentment for developers, Apple has launched the next day’s release of iOS 14 on a community of developers who, like everyone else, are trying to work during the coronavirus pandemic – a crisis that has completely renewed the day to day life of the people. Many developers are now working remotely and educating children at home. They could be directly impacted by COVID-19, too, perhaps with a sick family member.
Apple has not explained to either the public or the developers the reason for its decision to launch by surprise.