Apple shifts approach on feature development, report says


Rather than a long list of attention-grabbing features which can then become a chain around its neck, Apple instead intends to be more measured with each iterative iOS update, Bloomberg reports. According to people familiar with the matter, Apple will focus on the next two years of updates of iOS on the iPhone and iPad.

Software chief Craig Federighi laid out the new strategy to his army of engineers last month, according to a person familiar with the discussion. The renewed focus on quality is created to make sure the company can fulfil promises made each summer at the annual developers conference and that new features work reliably and as advertised. Apple declined to comment. Although Apple's still planning to release software on an annual basis, the way it's internally developed is being refined.

The decision comes after criticism over the launch of some features launched with bugs (the weird autocorrect bug, for instance), while others (Apple Pay Cash, iMessage in the Cloud) were delayed well into the launch cycle.

But the feature-packed upgrades place huge demands on Apple's beleaguered engineers. Along with this, the Do Not Disturb feature will also receive an update. Individual apps aren't updated on their own, and everything is driven by the release schedule. Some things have to be cut, some things have to be rushed.

The first release of the new development strategy is highly expected to arrive in the fall of this year. Some major new capabilities are still planned though, including an all-new app model which will allow iOS apps to run on the Mac desktop.

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Apple is slowing the pace on iOS updates, with the Cupertino firm allegedly opting to get absolutely right a smaller number of changes in its flagship iPhone software.

The company is making a major change to how it approaches software updates that will emphasize reliability and stability over speed, according to a new report in Bloomberg. Animoji is also coming to the iPad, the report claims, with Apple set to release a new version of the tablet that packs a built-in Face ID camera. This will let users put a virtual face on themselves in a video call.

Apple is also expected to add a redesigned version of its in-house stock-tracking app.

Consumers will have to wait until 2019 for significant iPad-focused software upgrades. Some of the features mentioned include the ability to run several apps within one app and shift between them just like you would do on a Mac when changing browser tabs. New features for the Apple Pencil and a toggle in the email app to mute notifications for a thread have been pushed back. The change is said to have been introduced in response to a perceived drop in quality over Apple's recent software releases. On the one hand, spreading feature updates over a longer period could hurt Apple's competitiveness in the fiercely contested smartphone market. There are various other upgrades to follow.