Every year, you can count on Apple to make a major announcement about the new, exciting products it’s releasing. The big reveal is typically in September, but CrowdCompass had been preparing for the launch of Apple’s new operating system and hardware since June.
While developers of individual apps must also stay current to support new operating systems, the CrowdCompass platform supports hundreds of new apps each month for conferences, trade shows, and event clients. This kind of scalability means they had a lot of work to do to ensure their apps were ready for the iPhone 6 and iOS 8 update.
When it comes to such a big release like this one, developers might do things differently to get their apps ready. Here are the top three ways that CrowdCompass approached this year’s Apple update:
- Be prepared for iOS 8 before Apple makes its announcement
- Don’t drop support for older technologies
- Work as a team to create an amazing experience for all app users
Below is my full conversation with Andy Rosic, Senior Manager of Product at CrowdCompass, about what they had to do to get their event apps ready for the release of iPhone 6 and iOS 8.
How does Apple’s announcement affect the apps you build?
Leading up to any big Apple release, there’s a lot of work that developers have to do behind the scenes to make sure their apps will work. Apps that aren’t ready in time may not look right or function properly when iPhone 6 and iOS 8 launch. Even though iOS 8 isn’t available yet to the public, CrowdCompass has been ready for it since August. We want our hundreds of thousands of app users to have a smooth, flawless experience.
What does the engineering team focus on?
There are two releases we have to be ready for. With the OS (operating system) release, a dedicated effort goes in to make sure it’s supported. With the hardware release, we focus on visual and size changes. While our attention is on the new software and hardware, we also focus on how we can keep supporting the 200 million iOS devices that are already out on the market.
Why start in June? How long does it take to get your event apps ready?
In June, Apple began releasing early versions of the new operating system to developers. Using this developer kit is like trying to find your way around when the lights are turned off in a house you’ve never been in before. You’re not quite sure where Apple is headed, but you see inklings of what you think might be a larger screen size, or a non-phone screen size like the watch. We used that time to prepare for what Apple was producing and make sure that CrowdCompass could support it.
Were there any challenges you came up against?
In our case, we build apps for events, meetings, and conferences. When you build hundreds of event apps a month, there’s a different level of testing and confidence required. We have to be sure that every event that is live or coming up during this launch will work flawlessly. It’s all hands on deck. Everyone here is ready to ensure our event clients have an amazing event.
So how exactly do you make sure the app works flawlessly?
When Apple releases their early developer kit, it’s not a finished product. They’re still creating their own bugs and making improvements. The CrowdCompass team ran our apps continuously through each of their iterations. Any time we found an issue, we’d fix it. By the time Apple made their announcement, they had a final product—and so did we.
Did you learn anything from last year’s update?
Last year’s iOS 7 launch was a huge learning moment for us. To be blunt, we didn’t start soon enough. We waited for the final version from Apple and then fixed all the things that went wrong. But we learned from that experience. This year, we had full support for iOS 8 more than two weeks before Apple even made their announcement.
What does CrowdCompass do that other event app developers don’t—or can’t—do?
CrowdCompass still supports all iOS device models (iPhone, iPad, iPod) with iOS 6, iOS 7, and now iOS 8. Some developers cut their mobile users off by jumping to the new OS and dropping support for older versions. CrowdCompass doesn’t do this. We make sure to support all of our legacy and early adopter customers and all of their events.
Do your event app users need to do anything?
Not a thing! CrowdCompass apps will work seamlessly—whether you get an iPhone 6 (or 6 Plus), update your current version to iOS 8, or don’t do any of the above. We took care of everything so you don’t have to worry.
Written by Valerie Zogas