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Fragmentation Comes To iOS 244

Posted by timothy
from the all-nimbly-pimbly dept.
dell623 writes "While the fragmentation issues in iOS are nowhere near as bad as Android, it can no longer be considered non existent. I have prepared a chart showing which features will be available on which device. While some restrictions are the result of hardware limitations, it is clear that Apple has deliberately chosen to limit some previous generation devices, and figuring this out isn't always straightforward if you're not buying the latest iPad or iPhone."
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Fragmentation Comes To iOS

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 13, 2012 @06:09PM (#41328981)

    ... that the submitter doesn't really understand what the word "fragmentation" means in this context.

    • by mrxak (727974) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @06:27PM (#41329149)

      Is slashdot just linking to people's random ass blogs now? This has got to be the most pointless and uninformed article I've ever seen here. Or it's a troll.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Of course. In android world, the so called fragmentation is actually "choice", while in Apple world, it's truly fragmentation.

    • by DJRumpy (1345787)

      They marked you as troll but I have to agree here. Every device listed can run the most recent iOS version with the exception of the original iPad which has only 256MB DDR Ram. Simply showing some hardware that doesn't support a feature isn't quite the same as the API fragmentation in Android where developers are limited by OS adoption (artificially so in most cases as there is no cost incentive from the handset vendors to update existing hardware to the latest OS).

      All of the limitations listed there are ha

      • by DJRumpy (1345787)

        Replying to my own post...

        The original iPad is excluded from the navigation piece due to it's lack of GPS, and from all of the FaceTime pieces due to lack of a front facing camera, from iPhoto and Panorama due to lack of memory, and from airplay due to lack of hardware H.264 encoding. It does have primitive GPS quasi-capabilities but only in the weakest sense. It has to rely on a more primitive cell tower triangulation rather than containing a true GPS chip.

        It was pretty hardware poor as far as features.

      • by Mike Buddha (10734) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @07:32PM (#41329791)

        iOS fragmentation is far worse than Android fragmentation, because the Apple App Store has no problem selling you software that you can't use on your devices. Google Play won't let you buy an app that won't work on your device, which mitigates a lot of the problems that exist because of fragmentation.

        It's annoying because decent software will get rated down on the App Store because it doesn't work on the iPad 1 and angry suckers leave low ratings to show their anger at Apple's incompetence.

        • by DJRumpy (1345787)

          Please enlighten us with this 'fragmentation'. Kindly list some apps that don't run on currently selling hardware.

          iPhone 4, 4S, 5
          iPad 2, New iPad

      • by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @07:43PM (#41329887)

        The bigger point he's missing is that he doesn't even understand what fragmentation means. Fragmentation is multiple parallel products that have incompatibilities. It's NOT current devices currently being on sale being different from older models in the same series let along devices that are no longer on sale. You can argue that there's iOS device fragmentation as far as iPhone vs iPod Touch vs iPad. But the iPhone 3GS and the iPad 1 aren't even on sale any more.

        Android is horribly fragmented because there is a huge number of current products with many hardware incompatibilities AND many don't even ship with a recent version of the OS. However much Android fanboys wish iOS devices had the same problem, they just don't.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 13, 2012 @06:12PM (#41329009)

    Fragmentation is a developer problem that affects how easy it is to roll out software for the platform.

    Apple keeps the core APIs consistent across devices. Everything you have listed is unrelated to the developer's ability to build their own apps.

    Those are end-user features.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @06:28PM (#41329169) Journal

      The chart in TFA is entirely useless, since it focuses on end user features that apple has or hasn't included on various models; but there is the not-so-minor matter of spec changes(TFA's chart doesn't even touch them; but 'keeping the core APIs consistent' also doesn't address them). There are some pretty significant differences in CPU and GPU power, and how quickly the OS will run out of RAM and quietly start memory-managing you, between those models.

      If your 'app' is just some lousy re-implementation of a website that you really wanted to flog through the app store for some reason, it probably isn't a big deal; but anybody who really needs the punch provided by running native can't necessarily ignore that.

      • by mrxak (727974)

        Some of the items in the chart aren't even currently being sold. Some of the items are imagined future products that don't exist and haven't been announced yet.

    • by jaymz666 (34050)

      So, when the iphone apps that are pushed for the larger screen first are unable to scale down to the smaller screen iphone, how is that not a problem?
      There will be apps that are for the original screen size, the new screen size and the ipad. That seems somewhat fragmented to me.

      • by Dog-Cow (21281)

        That fragmentation exists today. There are apps that exist only for the iPad, that won't run on any iPhone or iPod Touch. That's completely up to the developer, but it's not really any different than depending on a camera or GPS radio.

      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @07:50PM (#41329955)

        So, when the iphone apps that are pushed for the larger screen first are unable to scale down to the smaller screen iphone, how is that not a problem?

        Here you are hypothesizing some apps might exist only for the larger sized iPhone.

        But remember, Apple has this walled garden - why would they accept an app that did not work on both sizes of iPhone?

        Furthermore, apps HAVE to be able to resize down. When a call indicator is active the space for the app contracts.

        • by jaymz666 (34050)

          why would they accept an app that did not work on both sizes of iPhone?

          To force people to buy a newer one maybe

          • To force people to buy a newer one maybe

            But forcing the app to allow both sizes means that something like 10x more people can buy an iPhone to use it (since device cost now ranges from free to $299, instead of just $299).

      • There will be apps that are for the original screen size, the new screen size and the ipad. That seems somewhat fragmented to me.

        Apps for the original screen size work on the new devices. You're hypothesising that there will be apps that work on the new screen size that don't work on the old, but it's unlikely - there's no benefit to the app developer to do that, and it's easy enough to support both.

        There are no iPhone apps that don't run on the iPad... Support for iPhone apps is built in to the iPad.

        For sure there are some apps that are iPad only, but that's always been true. They are very different devices - it's not sensible to fl

  • Erroneous Info (Score:4, Informative)

    by MoronGames (632186) <cam.henlin@NOSpAm.gmail.com> on Thursday September 13, 2012 @06:16PM (#41329045) Journal
    iPhone 4S does not have a resolution of 960x940. iPhone 4 does not have a 940x640 resolution. They are both 960x640.
    • Yeah, the whole screen size thing is a bit misleading. The 3GS is pretty much deprecated at this point, so that leaves you with iPhone/iPod touch resolutions of either 960x640 or 1136x640. Apple has added functionality to their development tools to support the stretched interface of the higher resolution, but for most apps it just means a bigger scrolling area. And then with the iPad it's either 1024x768 or 2048x1536, which is exactly double the resolution of 1024x768. All in all, it's not too hard to d

  • Not great (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @06:27PM (#41329143)

    Most of these are things that iOS developers don't care about. For instance, Facetime over cellular: developers don't care about that, it's an Apple app, not an API, and evenif it was an API, you'd have to code for when it's unavailable anyway.

    There are variations between the different models that developers have to be aware of, but they aren't covered in this chart. For instance, background modes are only available for ARMv7 devices. By and large, Apple have done a good job of shielding developers from these differences. I'm an iOS developer, and I very rarely have to even think about different device support. The two main ones are display size and display density - and Apple have only just announced the third display size ever, and they've only used two display densities ever. I can't really think of any platform outside of games consoles that are so homogenous.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @06:27PM (#41329145)

    par for the course for apple they also lockout 64 bit only os on 64 bit hardware due to it only having 32bit EFI. But the same systems can boot 64 bit windows os.

    Also the video cards don't have 64 bit drivers on the osx side but you can put in newer videos cards in them.

    Also they can run the 64 bit only mac os x but you need to use the same tools that you use to run mac os x on a non apple pc.

    • You're the sucker for buying their hardware, why do you blame others for your own failures?

      "I bought a Ford car and it's junk because I can't just drop my Chevy engine into it"

    • by Dog-Cow (21281)

      You can ML on any Mac that has 64-bit support in the chipset.

  • by hondo77 (324058) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @06:28PM (#41329177) Homepage
    What, was the bottom of this page [apple.com] unclear?
  • To be honest I'm much more annoyed by market (or zone, region, whatever) imposed by retards. For example you can't download Citibank usa application from Europe. You happen to have an account in a USA branch? too bad.
    • by ccguy (1116865)
      Ah, and don't get me started on Google's super big fuck up with nexus q. So you got one in Google io but couldn't be bothered to open it until you were back in Europe? Here, your first job is figuring out how to download the app.
  • by rsborg (111459) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @06:30PM (#41329199) Homepage

    Why are the 3GS (a 3 year old design), iPad1 (2.5 years old) and iPad mini (rumored device at this moment) on the list? Why aren't things like hardware acceleration, smooth scrolling and other basic features that didn't exist for Android as of a few months ago on the features list? Hell, why isn't front/back camera on that list - no complaints that the iPod touch even have an external speaker until v2?

    As it stands there are basically three screen ratios (3:2, 4:3 and now 16:9), 3 device categories (phone/ipod/tablet). A whole lot less variety and scattered than Android where this kind of list would require a large spreadsheet to make sense of.

    This list is a bit of a stretch. The phones that are currently being sold (4, 4S, 5) have very similar capabilities to each other, as do the tablets.

    • by dell623 (2021586)

      The 3GS was being sold by Apple until two days ago.

      The iPad 1 was the only iPad you could buy until March last year.

      It's not about Android vs iOS..

    • Why are the 3GS (a 3 year old design), iPad1 (2.5 years old) and iPad mini (rumored device at this moment) on the list?

      For the first two the answer seems obvious, an awful lot of people have them. If you are writing software you want people to use then that is kind of important.

      Apple's challenge is to manage the competing problems of fragmentation and stagnation. To my mind stagnation is possibly a bigger issue for Apple. Personally I have a 3GS and even the 5 still seems like an extremely iterative rele

  • I don't get it... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Thursday September 13, 2012 @06:43PM (#41329315) Journal

    Starting with the retina display, the programming API's for the iPhone took a one-way trip away from utilizing absolute pixel measurements, and referring to screen positions by resolution-independant "points", instead. In this way, coupled with the usage of floating point values for screen positions instead of integers, code would be made entirely resolution independent, without having to inquire about the phone's physical pixel resolution. All of the iPhone screens up until that time, whether retina display or not, were considered to be the same dimensions in these "point" sizes, so the same code could look and work exactly the same both on pre-retina and post-retina displays (perhaps only being of higher fidelity on the latter).

    Now Apple decides it's time to make a phone with an entirely different aspect ratio. Really, what was the point of bothering with the resolution-independent screen positioning in their API's in the first place if they were just going to go and produce a completely different screen size that the programmer is going to have to write extra code to account for anyways?

    • Really, what was the point of bothering with the resolution-independent screen positioning in their API's in the first place if they were just going to go and produce a completely different screen size that the programmer is going to have to write extra code to account for anyways?

      The word you're looking for here is compromise.

      His Jobs-Ness was 100% absolutely against it, and such an extreme stance did seem to work well for Apple.

    • by Dog-Cow (21281)

      The graphics API has not changed with respect to coordinates since the first public release. It has always used points, and they've always been floating point. What's changed is that with the retina displays the ration of pixels/points is no longer 1/1. And the iPad was released prior to the first retina display, so the need to handle different aspect ratios and physical dimensions already existed.

      • by mark-t (151149)
        My point is that if there are going to be different screen sizes and the programmer is going to have to write particular code to handle them, then I don't understand the point of ever bothering with the supposedly "resolution independent" screen positions, when previous to the retina dispay, those supplied positions were just raw pixel coordinates?
    • Now Apple decides it's time to make a phone with an entirely different aspect ratio. Really, what was the point of bothering with the resolution-independent screen positioning in their API's in the first place if they were just going to go and produce a completely different screen size that the programmer is going to have to write extra code to account for anyways?

      Programmers don't have to do anything. If they do nothing the app looks exactly the same on the iPhone 5 as it does on an iPhone 4. The app is centered on the display and the portion used is a pixel by pixel match, its even physically the same size given that pixels per inch is the same between the two devices. Its similar to what was done when running iPhone apps on an iPad. Of course in the iPhone 5 case the unused pixels are minimal.

  • ...newer hardware can access newer features. KTHX.

  • The 4 and the 4S have the same screen size, 640x960.

    http://www.apple.com/iphone/iphone-4s/specs.html [apple.com]
    http://www.apple.com/iphone/iphone-4/specs.html [apple.com]
  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @06:53PM (#41329421)

    Apparently the author of the "article" doesn't understand the distinction. I'm disappointed the editors let this one in.

  • Apple is disgraceful in the way that it dumps old hardware and software. There is a tremendous amount of older hardware which could easily run the new MacOS and iOS with some features turned of that is beyond the capability of the hardware. Very easy to program.

    There is also a tremendous heritage of older software, particularly in the educational field, that is not being produced today that Apple should continue to support. Their abandonment of Classic, Rosetta, etc is pathetic.

    They can make gobs of money o

    • Getting Classic ported and working on Rosetta was probably deemed to be not worth the cost involved.

      Rosetta was bought from a 3rd party and Apple didn't own it. I figured the acquisition of that company by IBM (if I remember correctly) could be the reason they dropped renewing it; or the costs involved or maybe the new owners didn't want that tech being used to run PPC on Intel...

      Apple is still not nice about upgrades.

      • by Dog-Cow (21281)

        How is Apple not nice about upgrades? ML supports every Intel Mac with 64-bit support in the chipset. Each version of iOS supports hardware that can reasonably run it. You'd think that after the iOS 4 "fiasco" that you'd applaud Apple not forcing upgrades onto hardware that can't really support them.

    • I can understand your Mac complaints (to an extent...demanding Classic support at this point is just silly, especially since the machines that ran it still seem to run fine to me...I would know, since I have a Hi-Res PowerBook G4, which was the very last release before the Intel MacBook Pro), but their iOS support is pretty far beyond that of any of their competition. When I saw a chart about a year ago, every single one of their phones showed a history of having been supported through software updates and

    • by Dog-Cow (21281)

      Wow. You're very greedy. Shame you don't also have the intelligence to turn that greed into enough wealth to get the hardware and software you want.

  • Fuck, I just got this iPad,and you're telling me it doesn't do panorama? Sigh. Anyone want a slightly used 16GB wifi tablet? Sadly, it has the A5X, instead of the A6, but the relentless march of progress doesn't stop for stragglers.

    All reasonable offers excepted.

  • by rcs1000 (462363) <rcs1000@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday September 13, 2012 @07:44PM (#41329897)

    For the average user, fragmentation does not exist as a problem. It's like asking a Dell user; tell me, do you think the PC ecosystem is weakened by the system where you can buy an HP with a 17" screen or an Acer with a 21" one? Aren't you worried about fragmentation of the PC ecosystem?

    Said user would look at you as if you were completely mad.

    For the average, user the word fragmentation means nothing. Really, absolutely nothing.

    There is an issue for developers, but even there the problems is relatively modest. Everyone writes to the Android specs of 2-3 years ago (mostly Gingerbread), and the world continues as normal.

    And, the crazy bit is, of the top 100 apps, 98 are cross-platform anyway. Dropbox? Check. Angry Birds? Check. Evernote? Check. Every serious developer is already designing for both Android and iOS anyway (would anyone seriously consider building a mobile app designed to only ever being on one platform?), which means that any developer is already thinking about multiple form factors and resolution.

    So: to finish, fragmentation is a wonderful phrase dreamt up by the depatment of FUD, but it bears about as much relevance to the real world as Elmer Fudd.

    • by joelsanda (619660)

      Well put. I like choice - in RAM, screen size, and so on. I have a MacBook Air precisely because I've always enjoyed a minimalist computer setup. The thing is a dream for me because it runs the four applications I use all the time. It was the same thing with the Acer Linux netbook I had for about two years - no hard drive but just enough for Mozilla, Thunderbird, Angband and a text editor.

  • by mr_lizard13 (882373) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @08:05PM (#41330061)
    This is not fragmentation, this is product differentiation.

    Fragmentation on Android is having a user base on a ton of different OS and hardware versions with wildy different feature sets and not being able to target software to run on all of them. As a result app developers focus on the majority device/OS target, often an ancient version of Android, which renders all the latest APIs Google has released pretty much useless.

    With the majority of iOS devices in use able to upgrade to the latest OS version this developer headache just doesn't exist for Apple. It's easier to target the majority of devices, even rolling 'hybrid' apps that can selectively take advantage of newer features e.g. Retina display and the taller screen.

    Choosing to deploy new features on new devices isn't fragmentation, it's a way of differentiating within a product line up.

    And the last time I checked iOS 6 will be supported on the iPhone 3GS. A *three year* old phone.
  • Honestly, the screen size isn't a big deal.

    As an example, I'm about to ship a new app to the app store, as soon as my company settles on a product name. Meanwhile, adding support for the new screen size involved... dropping a new launch image into the project.

    Literally, that was it, not even a line of code. Since all my views already took into account different screen sizes to support properly laying out on both the iPhone and the iPad, it all happily resized itself to the new screen size exactly the way

  • Come on Apple... The iPad 2 and iPhone 4S have basically the same CPU, storage, and memory specifications. Both have a microphone and speakers. Siri should run fine on both platforms.

    That said, why is Siri available for the last generation iPhone but not the last generation iPad?? It makes no damn sense.

  • My two year old nexus S runs everything from voice recognition to panorama shots with the jellybean OS.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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