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Fragmentation Comes To iOS 244

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 @06:12PM (#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.

  • Erroneous Info (Score:4, Informative)

    by MoronGames ( 632186 ) <> 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.
  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @06:19PM (#41329077)

    What about my Model 5150 IBM PC?

    Seriously, fragmentation is an issue with current platforms. No one expects an API or UI to stand still across all but a small range of minor system releases.

  • 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.

  • PCs are fragmented (Score:4, Informative)

    by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @06:46PM (#41329349)

    My old 286 can't run 64-bit apps, or even 32-bit apps. I guess that means PCs are fragmented.

    Uh, yeah. PCs are pretty much the poster boy for a fragmented platform, even within the scope of hardware that could run the most recent major operating system version (e.g., not just "286 vs. modern x86-64 system".) Wintel PC fragmentation is certainly far worse than even Android fragmentation.

    That's always been one of the selling points for more tightly controlled, homogenous platforms.

  • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @07:20PM (#41329691)

    No, you idiot. A network connection being unavailable is NOT fragmentation.

  • by mrxak ( 727974 ) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @07:38PM (#41329837)

    I have an ad-blocker, but I assume the page has ads on it and the submitter is just looking for some hits. Nobody should RTFA, just read this post.

    He has four products on there that are not currently being sold. One is entirely made up, with made up specs, in a product category that doesn't exist.

    Of the remaining six, there's not much fragmentation at all. There are four screen resolutions, which is the only thing developers (for which the term fragmentation typically applies) need to worry about. This includes the 3.5" iPhone/iPod retina display resolution, the new 4" iPhone/iPod retina display resolution, the iPad retina display resolution, and the older non-retina iPad display resolution, which is automatically converted. The submitter made several factual errors with the resolutions, but that's the gist of it. Clearly going forward, there will be just two resolutions that developers need to worry about. One for the iPhone/iPod, and one for the iPad, as the older resolutions are being phased out and don't exist in any new products. This means the platform is no more fragmented than it was when the iPad was first introduced.

    There are no dramatic API differences between the various iOS platforms, just the usual and obvious differences in available hardware. iPods and iPads don't have cell network assisted GPS if they don't have chips in them to access cell networks. iPods and iPads don't have Facetime over cell networks when they don't have chips in them to access cell networks. Advanced features of the camera system or microphones are not possible on devices lacking the necessary computing power to handle them.

    All in all, nothing in this random submitter's blog post addresses true fragmentation, the sort you see in the Android platform due to API differences and hundreds of different screen resolutions.

  • by BradleyUffner ( 103496 ) on Thursday September 13, 2012 @08:19PM (#41330177) Homepage

    The big difference is that you can only buy apps directly on your Android device so Google Play knows what you have. The iTunes store on my devices also exclude items that won't work with the device I'm buying with.

    But if you're using iTunes on the desktop, how is it supposed to know which device of yours you're getting the app for? You could have 15 devices registered, some which would work, others that wouldn't. Every app on the store though lists the required hardware and OS version.

    Not true. You can go to the Android store on a browser from any computer while signed in to your account and purchase / install any application directly from the pc. Google will push the application out to the selected device without any user intervention. It knows what devices you have and what features it supports and will filter the applications accordingly.

  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @12:16AM (#41331533)

    This isn't technically correct:

    Layout is defined in terms of points not pixels, and since points = 1.0 pixels on non-retina and 2.0 pixels on retina there are no scaling artifacts to worry about.

    Yes, the defined measurement system is points (1/72 inch) and yes, the retina displays are exactly 2.0x the width and height, but when displaying legacy apps on a retina device iOS will place black bars along the edges of the screen to make room for the "1x"/"2x" buttons. So it's closer to 1.8x scaling.

    No. The 1x/2x buttons are for running an iPhone app on an iPad, not running a non-retina app on a retina. At 2x a non-retina iPhone app takes 960x640 of the iPad's 1024x768 pixels. There is room for a 1x/2x in the blank regions outside the centered 960x640 app.

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