Fragmentation / Planned Obsolescence

Discussion in 'iOS 6' started by Daniel B, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. Daniel B macrumors member

    Feb 23, 2010

    Although expected, I was quite disappointed that Apple changed the screen ratio on the new iPhone. Sure, existing apps will work (with black bands), but what about the current iPhones? Apps designed for iPhone 5 will not work on the older iPhones. So, we will have some serious fragmentation.

    In some 6-12 months, I suspect a lot of developers will focus on the new iPhone, not bothering with the old. So, the current iPhones will become obsolete. People will be disappointed and this will hurt Apple.

    Was it really necessary to change the screen ratio? I wonder if Jobs would have allowed this to happen? I think the current iPhone is just the perfect size. I don't think a lot of people watch a full length movie regularly on an iPhone. To me, the 16x9 is not a natural ratio of general apps, especially in landscape mode.

    The situation is similar for iPads, with the iOS 6 not being supported on the first iPad.

  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The same situation has occurred with the release of each new iOS version.

    An app written for iOS5 is not going to work on iOS4, there was always a level of fragmentation in iOS.
  3. Zedsdead185 macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2006
    yet another backwards compatibility problem added to the timeline of technology. :rolleyes:

    on a serious note, hopefully developers will support both screen sizes for a long time still. Afterall, apple are still selling the iphone 4 and 4s so they need to be supported. the majority of the market will still use the older screen size and good developers will know that.

    in a few years however it will probably be a different story. But that is unfortunately inevitable as my first comment points out
  4. Daniel B thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 23, 2010
    No, it's not the same. Previously, all iPhone owners could just upgrade to the latest iOS version, for free.
  5. Soundflunky macrumors regular

    Apr 29, 2012
  6. Defender2010 macrumors 68030


    Jun 6, 2010
    The ability to run at 16:9 will be built INTO the app by the developer. The apps will suddenly not stop working on any older device (or iPad) just because they allow this. Try reading a little about how app development works before making such bold statements!!
    Also, to YOU 16:9 is not a natural ratio, but i suspect your head isn't either! Generalise much?? Pah!
  7. Flojomojo macrumors member


    Aug 17, 2006
    While I agree with you about the inconsistent aspect ratios (and the iPhone 5 still looks weird to me), I don't think it's such a big deal. Apple has been telling iOS and OSX developers to shoot for resolution independence for YEARS, and the wide-screen iPhone is less of a change than the switch to Retina resolutions. We can still run the vast majority of our retro apps on modern hardware, and iOS6 still works on the relatively ancient iPhone 3GS, after all.
  8. Krevnik macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2003
    Couple Comments:

    App developers don't jump quite so quickly to only support the new OS as people tend to claim. There's even a good way to support old OS versions without sacrificing the ability to support new ones. And developers have been doing that for years now on iOS. Now there are those that do only support the latest and greatest, but they are usually in the minority.

    It is possible to layout your UI on the iPhone without locking yourself to a single resolution. Apple is doing it in their iWork apps. However, not everyone does this. Either it's a bug, or they are doing a lot of custom stuff that makes it trickier to do, so they didn't address it until they have to. For these apps that require a bit of work to support both resolutions, the iPhone 5 has the letter boxed rendering mode. It gives folks the time they need to update the apps to support both.

    The key thing here is this: the iPhone 4 and 4S install base are big. As is the iPod touch retina models. I would be a stupid developer for ignoring them. I'm not going to go out of my way to break them as I add support for the iPhone 5. In actuality, you are going to see developers drag their feet big time on supporting the 5. I still have apps on my iPhone 4 that have yet to add high-dpi icons for things. And they are regularly updated as well.

    In a year's time, I'm betting the real complaint will be: the iPhone 5S is out, and why are devs still dragging their feet on the new resolution?
  9. *Calypso*, Sep 13, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012

    *Calypso* macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2011
    Are you sure about that? In most apps the extra space will be used for content, rather than UI. Lists or website-like content doesn't even have to be adjusted, you simply have to scroll more on the 3:2 iPhones. Games could be either letterboxed or the UI elements could be moved to fit in the 3:2 ratio. Probably not a bigger deal after all, compared to Android where both horizontal and vertical resolution vary (and not just by a factor of 2).

    If you use current sales figures (ignoring 2007-08, as the majority of those phone probably isn't used anymore) there are about 250 million 4:3 iPhones out there being used. Even if the iPhone 5 cracks the record of the iPhone 4S and sells 100 million times a year, it will take at least 30 months to have more than 50% 16:9 iPhones. Of course, some old iPhone will be trashed every day, but there will be iPhone 4 and 4S sales to compensate that.

    I agree with you, that there might be a problem of fragmentation in two or three years, just like users of iOS 3 and 4 start to experience a decline in apps they can install. But it's not like there won't be any new apps for the iPhone 4 and 4S in a couple of months.

    I don't think that 16:9 is a good screen ratio for a smartphone, 3:2 or maybe 16:10 with a larger display is much better. But what would THAT have meant for fragmentation? Apple introducing a completely new resolution of maybe 1080x720 (3:2, 325 ppi @ 4"), 1152x720 (16:10, 340 ppi @ 4"), 1200x800 (3:2, 336 ppi @ 4.3") or 1280x800 (16:10, 351 ppi @ 4.3"), forcing iPhone app developers to completely rethink the UI structure of their apps, maybe even having to completely redesign iOS itself?

    I think it is obvious by now that 3.5" just wasn't an option anymore. You don't have to be a fan of 4.8" smartphones and 5.5" smartlets to realize that 3.5" has become to small in the eyes of many customers. As much as Apple wants to be different from Android, they would have made a joke out of themselves not offering at least 4".

    The problem is that they chose the easiest way to achieve 4", that is adding one more row of icons. Although they were able to reduce the height of the top and bottom bezel, the iPhone 5 has a weird overall ratio. Maybe we will get used to it, maybe we won't. Most competitors use 16:9 screens by now, but they have way smaller top and bottom bezels. Apple could have gone for that, making the home button smaller or the top bezel a different size than the bottom one. But that would have required a complete redesign. And knowing Apple, they don't do that once they are happy with a design (and they were very proud of the 4(S)-design). Maybe the iPhone 6 will get a complete redesign in 2014, maybe we will be "stuck" with the new 16:9 design until 2016, no matter what the competitors do. Don't expect Apple to be rational about these things, as long as iPhones are selling great, no matter what.
  10. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Just like how current apps only work with retina displays and nothing new will run on the iPhone 3GS or iPad 2 anymore?

    Oh, but wait. That didn't happen because developers were smart enough to realize they still wanted to sell to those people and thus made their apps accordingly.

    You wanna bet developers are still smart people? I would.
  11. bbfc macrumors 68030


    Oct 22, 2011
    Newcastle Great Park, England.
    Exactly. People are so quick it jump in and complain, when the haven't got a clue what they are talking about!

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