Tag Archives: thirdparty

iOS 7 and UI debt

Jared Sinclair writes about iOS 7 as a squandered year for third-party developers:

“Fast-forwarding a year, the effect that iOS 7 has had on third party development is disheartening — which sounds like a fatuous thing to say, since there have been so many well-liked redesigns over the past year. But that’s the rub: the vast majority of third-party developers’ time has been spent redesigning and reimplementing apps to dress the part for iOS 7.”

I agree with Jared that it was a sort of lost year for app features, but Brent also has a point:

“Jared argues that iOS 7 wasn’t urgent, that evolution rather than revolution would have been fine, since customer satisfaction was extremely high with iOS 6. In retrospect I agree, but were I at Apple I would have argued that the situation is like tech debt — UI debt — and it’s best to deal with it quickly, completely, and early.”

They had to deal with it all at once because UIKit’s look and feel didn’t really evolve the same way Mac OS X usually does, a little each year. Even Aqua, the most dramatic change ever to the Mac’s UI, was fairly straightforward for developers to adopt; if you stuck with consistent Mac controls, you got a lot for free. There was very little of that kind of consistency on iOS because developers frequently built their own custom UIs which had to be thrown out when iOS 7 happened.