Smart mobile has so far been largely a consumer-driven market. That has been good news for the business sector. It has reaped the benefits of the technological advances and better user experiences, with which vendors have sought to woo Jane and Joe Public.
However, vendors have also been vying with each other to churn out releases faster and more frequently. Agile software development makes this possible, by taking an incremental approach to new functionality towards smart mobile.
Now, agile doesn’t have to – in fact, shouldn’t – mean deficient in quality, security or safety. Yet even the most reputable of mobile computing vendors may be in danger of increasing defects in those areas.
Recent buggy releases of Apple’s iOS in particular have been making the news headlines in the more specialised IT press. Press review teams got defective review units for iPhone 6 and iOS 8 in particular.
There was speculation that software and hardware teams at Apple were out of sync (with software trailing hardware). The first months of general release of iOS 8 showed a 60 percent increase in the crash rate compared with iOS7.
Coming from a company whose manifesto to the market has been based on the best user experience bar none, those statistics are a source of concern.
Bugs are also bad news because they can open up security holes. Standard security advice is to always upgrade to the latest version of a vendor’s software, but that advice might seem dubious in the face of such a high rate of flaws.
The iOS security model in general is held to be well-designed and largely resistant to different kinds of attacks. However, there is a limit to even the best security strategy, if the tactics and operational realities do not measure up.
Some observers suggest that unbundling the launch of the next big iOS version from the launch of the next big hardware version could be a solution. Would Apple marketing then be able to convince Jane and Joe that slower-paced releases were a better deal? Or do Jane and Joe perhaps know that already, anyway?