Apple’s OS development teams are going to ‘Build Different’
Some say the mantra for agile development is to be sufficiently resolute to move fast and break things. But as enterprises grow, the consequences of doing so become unsustainable – as Apple appears to have learned with iOS 13.
A Bloomberg report claims Apple has changed the way its development teams work in response to a variety of bugs that crept into iOS 13.
It seems that Apple’s engineers have tended to push features into daily builds of the operating systems before they were fully tested. The effect of this was to make test hardware unstable as the OS would end up running a variety of system components, some stable, some not, and some abandoned.
Apple’s platforms are inherently pretty robust, but the impact on the company’s testing procedures appears to have made it rather difficult for the testers to fully comprehend the actual state of the software they were testing. That’s apparently allowed bugs to creep into the operating system without being recognized as such – and the company changed its approach for iOS 14 (“Azul”) development.
These changes have also been applied to the way Apple develops for all its other platforms.
Actions have consequences
The impact of Apple’s previous development process on users meant we saw multiple reports of things like disappearing email, app instability and sketchy network coverage once iOS 13 shipped. To its credit, Apple moved swiftly to address problems as it found them, but the operating system has now seen 10 versions since Sept. 19. And customers have needed to install new software on more or less a weekly basis.
This also impacts third-party software developers who may have had to upgrade their apps at the same time. That’s annoying to customers and developers, and has a cost significance for enterprise users.
Of course, regular software upgrades and an efficient distribution system are also platform strengths, but I believe Apple strives to deliver feature enhancements in its releases – it doesn’t want to be fixing bugs.
At the same time,…