App developers have been warned to keep pace with the capabilities of the new Apple iPhone 4S or risk becoming obsolete.
Early this morning Apple launched the much-anticipated iPhone 4S at a press event in the United States, unveiling a host of features including voice recognition technology.
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According to Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at research firm Ovum, the iPhone 4S represents an upgrade in terms of internal hardware but its exterior is unchanged.
“The phone will also run the latest version of the iOS software, which will release as an upgrade for existing iPhone owners shortly as well,” Dawson says.
“The hardware upgrades are incremental rather than revolutionary. The processor gets an upgrade from the Apple A4 chip used in the iPhone 4 to the Apple A5 chip used in the iPad 2, which should result in good speed improvements.
“The device also uses a dual-mode wireless interface, running both GSM and CDMA, although it only gets a speed bump on the GSM side, with HSPA+ 14.4.”
Dawson says while the upgrades will be compelling to iPhone 3GS users, it could be a different story for iPhone 4 users, who may prefer to wait for more substantial upgrades.
With regard to app developers Dawson says the iPhone 4S will force them to think about whether to make their apps compatible with the older hardware as more powerful hardware becomes available.
“There is a significant leap in specs from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4S and apps designed for the newer hardware will be sluggish or entirely non-functional on the older device,” she says.
Foad Fadaghi, research director of technology analyst firm Telsyte, says app developers should “absolutely” be investing in the iPhone 4S and the features and functions it provides.
“Most of the savvy app developers will have already moved onto the new platform,” he says.
“The added features present a good opportunity – some of the location-based functions and the use of iCloud, which can be integrated – it makes a lot sense.”
Fadaghi says while there appears to be “good growth” for Apple’s iOS 5 platform, app developers would be foolish to discount the Android.
“Most app developers who are serious about mobile apps are developing for both platforms and for other platforms on top of that,” he says.
“In the long run, most mass application developers will focus on both platforms.”
Andrew Campbell, co-founder of iPhone taxi app goCatch, says developers are constantly on the lookout for the latest news with regard to the iOS operating system and the iOS device.
“goCatch will work on the new iPhone 4S so users will be able to see taxis on a map and catch them in real time,” he says.
“Even if it’s is not as hugely new as we hoped it would be it’s a positive thing. It could’ve been a lot worse – it could’ve been totally different that nothing worked on.
“It’s an incremental change and that’s always easy for developers to adjust to. I anticipate there wouldn’t be too many changes required to get in with the new device.”