iOS adoption outpaces every other mobile family out there. As iMore reports, 93 percent of customers have upgraded to iOS 6.x. Just 1 percent remain on older operating systems.
So why do developers obsess over iOS 5? The iPad 1. It's the little iOS that can. And does. And keeps doing.
Devs continue selling apps targeted to the original iPad and they don't want to cut away an important portion of their market.
I'm told over and over again, "If I go to Auto Layout, I can no longer build for iOS 5." A loyal base of iPad 1 users means developers hesitate to move their code base into modern technologies and that's a shame.
Sadly, Apple doesn't allow devs to fork apps. Imagine freezing (but still selling) an iOS 5 version of your app. Consider a state of "no longer supported, but available to purchase" for a not-insignificant user base.
True, 1 percent doesn't sound like a lot of users until you do the math. There are 600 million devices out there. That's 6 million potential customers.
Now imagine this forking for iOS 6 as well come this fall. You'd be able to keep selling to those customers who haven't updated, but you wouldn't be slavishly adhering to outdated firmware that represents just a small minority of users.
Sadly, this is not an option that Apple offers. Each update has the potential for excluding customers, something that gives devs hives. Fortunately, there's a way to suggest it.
Developers shouldn't have to turn away from newer, better APIs because the alternative is their bottom line.