For some people June means the start of Winter. For others (like us) it means there is a new iOS version coming. But, with iOS 11 it's likely more than 200,000 apps in the App Store will become obsolete. The reason for this lies in the processors found in the iPhone. Old iOS devices came with a 32-bit processor but now they are built with 64-bit processors. That difference is about to have a big impact come June 2017.
What's the difference?
Apps were originally developed with 32-bit code, but as Apple has released a new phone they have moved to a 64-bit processor, meaning that apps built with 32-bit code will either run very slowly on newer phones or not run at all!
Since 2015, Apple has been asking developers to update their apps to 64-bit code. Now, it would appear they are simply forcing to developers to upgrade or they will "brick" their apps:
RIP 32-bit emulation mode in iOS 11? pic.twitter.com/byMFuJPuVN— Peter Steinberger (@steipete) 31 January 2017
This highlights a significant impact to native applications - their requirement to fit the usability of a single company (either Apple for iOS or Google for Android) - which can be changed/updated at any time.
We've previously discussed whether you should use a native app (eg an iOS app) or a progressive web app (a web based app)
Given this news, it certainly provides a strong argument for the benefits of using a progressive web app. The web has been and will always be the most popular mobile operating system. It began long before iOS began and it will be around long after it. By creating a progressive web app, you are creating a device neutral and software neutral app.
Whether you use a progressive web app or a native app, there is still on going maintenance involved in both. But with a native app, the maintenance is far more extensive than what a native app is. If you choose to cater for iOS and Android, then the work is doubled. Every time Apple releases a software update, even minor ones, may mean you have to rebuild your app to suit that version. Depending on what features the app uses, it may work on 10 different versions of iOS or it may only work on 1.
Apps can be very useful for your business and if you’re considering building one it's best to very carefully think about which direction to go in. If you need help in working out what is right for you, we have assisted many clients in implementing apps into their business.
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