While developers race to offer apps compatible with the new iOS 7, they were also surprised by a last-minute decision to offer compatibility options for older versions.
The Next Web was first to notice a post on Reddit showing that if a user tries to download an app not compatible with his or her version of iOS from the App Store, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will give the user the option to download an older version of the app compatible with their device.
Initial reactions among developers on Twitter ranged from enthusiastic to cautiously positive, while a few tweets suggested the move was long overdue.
Interesting, if true. "Apple begins allowing users…to download older versions of apps." http://t.co/wDqxc2p3TJ— Jonathan Lehr (@jlehr) September 18, 2013
Whoa, this is new: Apple begins allowing users running legacy iOS builds to download older versions of apps http://t.co/rhnFxIITck"— Saravanan (@saruiosdev) September 18, 2013
While Apple's decision was probably geared primarily toward consumers, developers suggested they would also be able to reap the benefits as they planned their next releases.
Ability to download legacy version of iOS apps means we can all move on and start writing iOS 7 exclusives easily, this is awesome!— Krzysztof Zabłocki (@merowing_) September 17, 2013
There were a few, however, who wondered whether the move toward compatibility might mean consumers will lose the push they sometimes need to keep up with OS updates.
Maybe it no longer matters if you upgrade to the latest iOS…. http://t.co/V17vGBeRYe— shinobicontrols (@shinobicontrols) September 18, 2013
The kraken has been released. Soon iOS will see more fragmentation. http://t.co/ZHAUicKdeG— Brian Ge (@briandotnet) September 18, 2013
Overall, however, that seemed to be a minority view.
@briandotnet this just makes good sense for the user. Still dev choice as to what OS versions supported.— Andrew Little (@aalittle) September 18, 2013
The other potential impact, developers suggested, was that the lifecycle of older hardware might also be extended--not that future-forward people like Apple's customers necessarily need that.
Still got a wooden iPhone? Apple begins offering 'Last Compatible' version of apps for ancient iOS versions! http://t.co/CXDjIEHWFl— Martin Kool (@mrtnkl) September 17, 2013
This actually might make me use my iPad 1 for just a little longer before I donate it to a museum ;) http://t.co/7FjW6ZjMBv— Fokke Zandbergen (@FokkeZB) September 18, 2013