Survey finds 52% of developers are working on iOS 7-only app updates

iOS 7 (multiple iPhones, flat 002)

Last month, we asked our readers if they would pay for iOS 7 app updates on apps they already owned. With all of the UI changes and new features Apple’s added in the software, developers are having to spend an enormous amount of time and resources to bring their apps up to speed.

Looking at the comments in that post, though, the answer was clearly a resounding “no.” In fact, a lot of readers claimed that they’d rather stay on iOS 6, than update to iOS 7 and have to repay for their favorite apps. Well, if this new survey is any indication, that may not be an option…

Craig Hockenberry, developer at Iconfactory (Twitterrific):

“Like many of my fellow developers, I am in the middle of an update of an app for iOS 7. As you’d expect, it’s a lot more work than previous versions of iOS. But results are stunning: both David Lanham and I have commented that our shipping version was “feeling old and clunky.”

While cranking along on the update, a couple of thoughts occurred to me: how many other developers were doing the same thing and were they going to commit fully to iOS 7? The depth and breadth of the changes in iOS 7 makes it difficult to support older versions of the OS.”

So Craig decided to ask his fellow developer these questions, and the numbers are rather interesting. Of the 575 valid responses he received, 545 developers said they were working on an iOS 7 update. And out of that group, 284 of them said their app updates were going to require iOS 7.

iOS_7 dev chart

Now, that number may seem high—and it probably is compared to iOS 5 and 6 updates—but looking at Craig’s comments above, it makes sense. If my two best options were to either hold off on iOS 7 and continue to support older versions of iOS, or vice versa, I’d probably pick the latter.

Why? Because iOS users tend to upgrade their firmware, and do so quickly. Apple estimates that some 94% of active users are on iOS 6 or later. And if we add that to the fact that beta installs are at an all-time high, I think it’s safe to say that a majority of users will be on iOS 7 come fall.

Of course, this is all good news for us as users. For one, it means that a lot of our favorite apps are going to be iOS 7-ready come launch time. And two, it sounds like developers are really working hard to overhaul their apps’ UIs to match the new software, and to utilize new iOS 7-only APIs.