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Does iOS 9.3 herald a new release strategy?

Dan Moren | Jan. 18, 2016
Over the past week, Apple has put out a beta version of iOS 9.3 for developers, but also posted a page of the not-significant features included in it.

So, to me, the goal now seems one of sustainability: keeping the iPhone and its users updated and happy, possibly with a steady stream of smaller updates rather than a single major tentpole release every summer.

We're doing it live

This approach-or a mix of the two-can prove quite effective. I'm thinking in particular of the path I've watched game developer Bungie take with its massively multiplayer online game Destiny. The company has said in the past that it has a ten-year plan for the game, and after it released the first version of the game-to admittedly mixed reviews-in fall 2014, it followed it up with two major expansions, spaced a few months apart. That was followed by a much more significant-and much better regarded-release a year after the initial game launched.

Since then, however, Bungie has spoken of its plan to change from releasing downloadable expansions to instead focusing on having in-game events occur from time to time. Rather than simply adding new story content or items to the existing game, these events take more offbeat forms: a charming festival during Halloween that let players collect candy and earn costumes, or a totally new racing mode over the winter holidays in which players could compete on their speeder bikes and earn fun rewards. While those updates may be ancillary to the main thrust of the game, they keep players engaged and-more importantly-coming back.

Bungie's Live Team is responsible for deploying and managing these events, and they've done a solid job so far. It's a clever way to keep the game fresh and interesting without having to be locked into the pattern that Bungie had established in its first year of major downloadable content releases.

Steady, not slow

Could Apple do something similar? Perhaps. What if this year's "big" release at the Worldwide Developers Conference wasn't iOS 10, but instead iOS 9.5? There might be cries of bloody murder and Apple doom-though what Apple decision hasn't been heralded by those-but this might also provide a way for Apple to focus on improving software quality and reliability, another topic on which there has been much written of late.

None of this need mean that development or innovation in iOS grind to a halt. But we're no longer in the gold-rush period that characterized the early release of the smartphone, exciting as it was. So perhaps it's time for the smartphone to settle down and become something a little steadier, a little stabler, and a little more modest-as befits the device that we depend on everyday.

Source: Macworld AU 


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