It appears that we have a new “Fake Steve Jobs” in our midst. And this time ‘Steve’ is claiming via email that the apparent performance issues witnessed on iPhone 3G devices running the latest iOS 4 software will be addressed in an upcoming update to iOS 4. Regardless of whether the email did in fact come from the Real Steve Jobs or not, there are plenty of reasons to believe that Apple (s aapl) is serious about getting iOS 4 working properly on iPhone 3G devices.
Next Gen Customers on Previous Gen Devices
The most likely recipients of older iPhone 3G devices will be the siblings of the owners of the devices which have replaced them with the new iPhone 4. This is a very important class of user that Apple cares a lot about. The new owners of these older iPhone 3G devices will be potential Apple customers throughout their academic life. And it appears that students are serious about Apple. Providing a less than awesome experience now could jeopardize their loyalties later.
One iOS to Rule Them All
The current burden on developers targeting Apple’s mobile devices is that there are too many software versions to manage; 3.1, 3.2, and 4.0, to name a few. The number of devices on each of these three major platforms is still significant. With the upcoming iOS 4.1 update, Apple has the opportunity to converge more of these devices to just one OS platform. That is, if they can convince iPhone 3G owners that performance is no longer an issue.
Focusing on multiple platforms does take time away from adding features and releasing new titles. Giving developers the tools they need is only part of the equation. Switching between simulators and managing several different devices takes time. Cutting down on the number of device and OS combinations that developers need to support will only strengthen the quality of the apps for devs that don’t test across the matrix of combinations, and give back some development time to those that do.
Apple has been quite public about the engineering capabilities of other software development shops. Apple was also adamant all along that iPhone 3G devices would be supported on iOS 4, minus some features. Nonetheless, Apple proclaimed support for these devices. Taking on its own challenge, stepping up to the plate and delivering an awesome experience to its next generation of customers is what Apple’s core values are all about.
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