Earlier this month, we tentatively decided to require iPhone OS 3.0 (or a later update) for Economy 2.0, and the decision is now final. Here are some of the factors we considered.
1. By the end of August, around 90% of our users were on OS 3.0 (or later). The overwhelming majority of iPhone users were on OS 3.x, roughly 3 out of 4 iTouch users were on OS 3.x. By the time Economy 2.0 is released (mid October), we expect an even higher number of users to be on 3.x versions. In itself, this was not a sufficient reason to be OS 3.0+ only, however, this was an important consideration.
2. Future versions of the Economy app will include iPhone OS 3.x only features such as in-app-purchase and in-app-email. Some of the iPhone OS 2.0 apis are being deprecated by Apple. For example, the “font” property of UIButtons has been deprecated and Apple recommends setting the “font” property of the button’s “titleLabel”. However, titleLabels didn’t exist in any of the iPhone OS 2.x versions.
3. Apple’s policy on previous versions: Supporting iPhone OS 2.x (for old functionality) and yet using new iPhone OS 3.x features (that will only work on OS 3.0 or later updates) is possible, but it is somewhat expensive because of the testing hit. Specifically, as per http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1275, Apple says that “Downgrading to a previous version is not supported”. So it isn’t possible for us to move an OS 3.0 device to OS 2.x for test purposes. While it may be possible to borrow or buy an old iPhone with the 2.0 OS on it, this would exacerbate our time constraints and further delay release of the Economy 2.0 app.
4. The most important consideration was the fact that the 1.0 version of the Economy app is a high-quality app that offers great value. So I’m comfortable with a small minority of users continuing to the use the 1.0 version of the 99-cent Economy app and not picking up free upgrades with the 2.0 version.
(PS: Incidentally, the 1.1 version of our Election app was released last year and yet our servers get some requests from the 1.0 version of the Election app; some users upgraded to the 1.1 version several months after release, some other users continue to use the 1.0 version. This indicates that some of the iPhone OS 2.x users of the Economy app will probably stick with the 1.0 version of the app, even if the 2.0 version of the app supported iPhone OS 2.x)
If you have any concerns or thoughts about not supporting iPhone OS 2.x, please email us or post your comment as a response to this blog post.