iOS 7, new iPhone screen sizes and insta-deletion (posted 2013-07-17)
Decisions, decisions: update your iOS apps now for iOS 7 and be ready on day one, or wait until new iPhones and iPads arrive and incorporate support for a possible new screen size/resolution in the update?
On the Tapadoo blog, Dermot Daly writes that when the iPhone 5 came around, his clients were initially reluctant to spend money updating their iPhone apps to support the bigger screen, but the letterboxing that happened with the unupdated apps made those an ❝insta-delete❞ for many users. He thinks that iOS 7 will play out in much the same way.
(On episode 63 of the Amplified podcast, Dan Benjamin argues that people won't delete apps unless an alternative that does support the bigger / higher resolution screen or new aesthetic is available, and I certainly agree with that.)
However, what if Apple once again releases iPhones (or iPads) with a different screen size/resolution? Unless you really want to have your update ready on day one, it may be prudent to wait for that shoe to drop before finalizing a big update, and certainly start laying the groundwork for another screen size now.
It will be very interesting to see how regular users react to the big changes in iOS 7. It could be like a website redesign, where lots of people complain. But I think even regular users will know there are big changes, and either decide to stick with the old iOS or upgrade understanding that things are going to be different. I also think that old apps won't stick out like a sore thumb immediately like what happened on the iPhone 4's higher resolution display, or to a lesser degree, on the iPhone 5's taller screen. But as users spend more time with updated apps, the older ones will start worse and worse. So there's probably a grace period before that deletion impulse kicks in.