The Trouble With Old App Versions

Apple found itself dealing with a brush fire recently due to their decision to make older versions of developed and published apps available to users. (You can find the original statement on their site here.)This option has a couple of pros and cons that demand a closer look, and may prove to create a new line of thinking.

At first glance, this may not have been the best move Apple has made in the eyes of app developers for a few reasons. To start with, developers go through a painstaking process to update apps that users publish. This is an informed process thanks to reviews and emails containing suggestions and complaints. They may feel unhappy about these older versions being up for grabs due to the flaws associated with that version, and they also may not want to troubleshoot them if asked. Another concern would be the issue of piracy. Seen on a larger scale with popular software packages, apps have are in high demand on various forums and sites that allow people to bypass paying for them in the App Store. iOS devices that have been jailbroken also push this demand as well. There is a vulnerability here that can't be ignored, especially in the eyes of developers who stand to lose initial profits.

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On the flip side, there are the benefits of old versions of apps being available for older iOS devices. In a time when the economy dictates personal tech decisions more than ever, some people may not be in the position to upgrade to newer devices. Another factor to this is the dictates of the different cellular phone companies regarding upgrades and service plans. Having older apps available means consumers don't have their usage limited because they don't have a new device. It also helps given the fact that iOS 7 has proven to be a bear from the start and there are some who want to wait a bit before updating to preserve information. I've heard from people who have had some complaints about information stored in older versions lost despite backing up. Apple giving the choice to the developers is a wise move, especially when you take into account that other companies have fouled up the way they do things with regard to older software, Adobe being a prominent example. It also gives the developers more autonomy and a better feeling of co-creation with Apple, rather than one of just providing a product for distribution.

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Christopher Smith is a contributing founder/writer for Manifesto Magazine in NYC and is an indie rock reviewer for Independent Music Productions. Christopher's work has appeared in The Smoking Section, King Magazine, Parle Magazine, & IAMOnlineMag. He has two published books of poetry and runs several blogs.