Expect flood of app updates next week with release of iOS 8; MLB.com At Bat’s crash issue
Apple, too, will probably be releasing updates soon for its iOS apps, with others to come around the time OS X Yosemite is released in October
The release of iOS 7 a little over a year ago caused much distress for developers as they struggled to update their apps to fix bugs introduced with the new mobile OS. Many developers learned from the experience and are making sure they are prepared.
MAZ Digital, for instance, sent out emails yesterday reassuring users of its digital publishing platform that all would be well and that they were ready for the general release of iOS 8.
But iPhone and iPad owners can expect a flood of app updates in the weeks to come as many developers, and probably more than a few publishers, discover that they need to issue updates to their apps to make sure they are iOS 8 compliant.
One app that looks like it will need an update is MLB.com At Bat. Last night I used the app to follow the collapse of the A’s and the win by the Giants. The app functioned fine when using its game tracking feature called Gameday, but crashed immediately whenever I attempted to access the live broadcasts.
Almost anything could account for a crash like this: the current app itself may not be iOS 8 compliant; there could have been an issue with my download and installation of the iOS 8 gold master file; it could be a device issue such as memory, something easily fixed with a reboot of the device.
The last time MLB’s main iOS app was updated was back in July for the All-Star game, so the app is due for an update for the playoffs. But one thing for sure, if there is a problem with the app once iOS 8 is released, and MLB.com is not ready for it, a lot of baseball fans will be upset as the pennant races are heating up as the regular season is winding to a close.
If MLB’s app crashes under iOS 8 without an update, does this mean there will be lots of trouble with other apps? That is really hard to say. I checked out other video streaming apps, thinking that maybe there is an issue there, but Netflix and other apps seemed just fine. On the other hand, Netflix issued an update on September 3, and though it did not mention iOS 8 (just bug fixes) it’s developers may well have already tested the app and made sure it would be fine.
One company that may issue a string of updates would be Apple itself. The company will want to make sure that its iOS apps take advantage of all the new features they can. This may also be a good time to update other programs in preparation for the release of OS X Yosemite, probably to be seen in late October (I’ll be among the first to predict October 21 as the release date).
This got me thinking about iBooks Author. Last year Apple added Mac support for iBooks Author, and if you recall, TNM reported (thanks to a reader) that there were issues with the update regarding embedding fonts. Apple then was forced to issue another update about a week later. (TNM was able to work directly with a Apple iBA team member on identifying the issue for them.)
But the update did not involved adding iPhone support. This is a problem because many publishers want to get their eBooks onto smartphones and so may be tempted to avoid using iBA for its lack of support not only of Android and Kindle devices, but Apple’s own iPhone. When TNM published its Talking Digital book, an interactive eBook was created for iBooks; followed by a print version through Amazon.com; then a Kindle Edition, designed using InDesign; and finally a NOOK edition, built using Scrivener.
The problem for Apple is that in order to get an eBook onto the iPhone the publisher may be forced to go to Amazon.com or another competitor first. I doubt they really want this.
But now Apple has launched two new iPhone 6 models, both with larger displays. The smartphone and tablet are moving towards each other. The original iPhone display was 3.5 inches, the original iPad display 9.7 inches. Now the iPhone 6 Plus sports a 5.5 inch display and the iPad mini has a 7.9 inch display.
Will the next iBA update offer an option to create an eBook for the iPhone? It seems logical, but there has been no rumors along these lines that I have read. But should an update come it would most likely appear around the time OS X Yosemite is released rather than when iOS 8 is released since one needs a Mac to produce eBooks with iBA.