Last week at its media event, Apple announced that the final public release of iOS 14 would ship the day after the event following a one day Golden Master (GM) period. On the surface this seems like a move aimed to benefit users who were able to get their hands on the new OS the day after it was announced. In doing so, however, it appears that Apple put their developer community in a tough spot forcing them to get their apps ready and submitted in a short amount of time.
To be fair, developers have had access to beta versions of iOS 14 since it was announced during WWDC in June. Any developer serious about supporting their app has had the ensuing time to make sure that it is compatible with the new software in addition to adding new features. The issue is that the GM release of iOS wasn’t made available to developers until a day before the proper release of the software. The GM release is usually the same build as the one that is released to the public meaning that developers can begin final testing and fixing of any last bugs before they have to submit their updated apps to the App Store.
In past years Apple has given developers a week to work with GM. By only allowing 24 hours this time, Apple forced developers to scramble to get their apps submitted or face not being ready for launch day.
In the end, the tangible fallout from this decision isn’t likely to be too high. But it does make you wonder what Apple was trying to gain by putting their developers in a pinch. In ProgrammableWeb’s article examining great developer portal practices, the importance of building developer engagement through proactive communication was discussed. Building strong developer relations isn’t limited to a Portal though, it should be a key part of a provider’s overall API strategy. Apple bucked this best practice and while it may not hurt today, chipping away at the trust of its developers is never a good move.