Apple culls features to make iOS 12 'stable'

A juicy development overnight: Apple reportedly is cutting features from iOS 12 in order to make a Snow Leopard style release, which is to say that it will focus on battery life and stability.

The report has been corroborated by other sources too, and comes as Apple has felt the pressure over the last two years — software quality has clearly fallen through the cracks. Axios says that a number of big pieces have been dropped:

Pushed into 2019 are a number of features including a refresh of the home screen and in-car user interfaces, improvements to core apps like mail and updates to the picture-taking, photo editing and sharing experiences.

I'm surprised that Apple is even working on a new home screen, let alone delaying it further — that was always one of the bugbears of iOS for me, as it feels like it was invented for how we used our phones five years ago.

All of this comes off the back of one hell of a bad end of 2017. We had the root user scandal, the discovery that iOS throttles performance on old batteries, an iOS boot loop when a certain time passed, HomePod missed the holiday season and so on. I have a feeling that any software release that doesn't feel rushed would be welcomed with open arms.

It appears that much of it comes down to Apple's monolithic release schedule for macOS and iOS which it still isn't comfortable with: instead of releasing every year or two, the company started shipping every year, at the same time — which can be a change that's hard to adjust to. 

Earlier in the year, Yorick said on Discuss that it also can be attributed to a poorly organized development process:

I wonder as to what happened with the dev / review / test / QA cycle at Apple that caused this. With developer testing, code review, other dev tests, and QA this kind of thing shouldn’t have happened. All of these would have to have been caught at the dev review cycle because QA wouldn’t have known to test future dates or blank root passwords - bet it’s part of their test protocol now.

The narrative I always find amusing, and you can see everywhere, is that Apple has "limited resources" for such things. While the amount of engineers it might employ is finite, it's laughable to suggest the world's largest, most valuable company is unable to muster the resource to make a stable piece of software.

WWDC is still a few months away, so bring on the rumor cycle — if the focus is truly stability and battery life, it's a move that's designed to appeal to the existing user base for a change, which would be a smart play for loyalty... if it's more than just words. iOS 9, for example, was supposed to be the same thing

P.S — this is all especially interesting given reports the Department of Justice is now investigating the battery throttling.

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