DevJuice: Supporting the iPad 1

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Erica Sadun
July 3, 2013 3:30 PM
DevJuice: Supporting the iPad 1

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.

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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 You'd be able to keep selling to those customers who haven't updated, but you wouldn't be slavishly adhering to outdated firmware that represents just a small minority of users.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.

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