On one hand, we should be happy that Apple is squashing bugs in their software and relaxing updates. On the other hand, iOS 9 has been out for about two weeks and, counting the initial 9.0.0 release, we’ve now had three iOS updates in a fortnight.
What’s being fixed?
Apple says this update addresses five specific issues. They are:
- Fixes an issue with the setting to turn on or off app cellular data usage
- Resolves an issue that prevented iMessage activation for some users
- Resolves an issue where an iCloud Backup could be interrupted after starting a manual backup
- Fixes an issue where the screen could incorrectly rotate when receiving notifications
- Improves the stability of Podcasts
All of that is good. I’m pretty sure I’ve been hit by the iMessage issue as messages that hit my iPhone and Mac aren’t reaching my iPad despite everything being up to date and the setting being correct.
How many updates is too many?
Some years ago, Microsoft was widely criticised for releasing updates at all sorts of random times making life a misery for system administrators. They responded with the Patch Tuesday protocol. On the second Tuesday of each month, Microsoft releases patches for their software. The only exceptions are critical security patches. Otherwise the bugs that are detected, often in very specific circumstances, are handled on the next patch Tuesday.
Apple’s patching regime is somewhat haphazard. No one really nows when a system update is going to arrive. that means large deployments, where there may be thousands of devices to update, can’t plan when to test applications before updating devices.
Given their recent enterprise alliances with IBM and the availability of Salesforce apps for the Apple Watch, and their clear push into businesses with the iPad Pro, it’s clear Apple is making a move from the home and a strong consumer business into enterprises.
Three updates in two weeks is going to annoy a lot of administrators, not to mention consumer customers.
Apple needs to have a public schedule
It’s time for Apple to institute their own version of Patch Tuesday where updates are aggregated and released on a schedule. Short of a major security issue, there aren;t many system updates that can’t wait a week or two for release.
But this approach, particularly with iOS 9 being updated twice already, gives me the feeling there’s not enough testing going on. Or perhaps Apple is sticking to release schedules with a view that “on time” is more important than “right”.
Who’s laying odds on when iOS 9.0.3 will be out? I’m tipping we’ll see it before October is done with.