When iOS 4.3 was released on March 9, Verizon users were surprised they would not be getting the update simultaneously with AT&T customers. 4.3 added AirPlay functionality, improved Safari browsing, and a slew of bug fixes. It wasn’t the most jaw-dropping update, but most assumed the new iCDMA devices would be up to speed in a matter of days…
Fast forward a month and a half. While Verizon users have been getting minor point updates ala bug fixes (remember that whole location tracking thing?), the latest version is still 4.2.8 (AT&T is up to 4.3.3 now). CDMA users still can’t take advantage of iTunes Home Sharing, nor does their mobile Safari use the speedy Nitro rendering engine. This is the sort of fragmentation that has plagued Android developers almost since the start but has always seemed rather un-Apple. iOS developers used to be able to build once and rest easy knowing Apple's entire gadget line would be able to run their app. Now with the unsupported iPhone 3G, the soon to be unsupported 3GS, iPads, Retina Displays, and now this? Developers don't have it quite so easy anymore.
If you are a Verizon user still expecting 4.3 to drop any day now, it might be time to stop holding your breath. Developers have begun receiving e-mails from Apple kindly asking that they re-build and re-submit their apps for iOS 4.2 if they were previously built with 4.3 as the deployment target (and don’t require any of the new frameworks such as the newly renovated AirPlay). I recently had an app approved that when submitted I respectfully ignored the warning it would not yet be compatible with Verizon phones, under the assumption it would be compatible in the following days. If the App Store team is going as far as asking developers to re-build and re-submit their iOS 4.3 apps (with an approximate approval time of 7 days), it sure doesn’t seem like the Verizon release is coming any time soon.
So what is the cause for the delay? Is it a technical one or a business-related one? Is this sort of fragmentation just something iOS developers will have to learn to get used to, as Android devs did? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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