7 days ago Apple announced iOS5 & released it to those with an Apple developer account. We now have 1 & 2 star reviews turning up in the app store like this…
2 star review for NextBuses for not working on iOS5
1 star review for Agant's UK Train Times not working in iOS5
I’m not out to demonise individuals, which is why I have blanked out the user names. However, I do want to highlight why leaving reviews like this is utterly misguided and what it means to install beta releases of iOS.
Firstly. The review system is not for leaving bug or support related questions, for example, ‘How do I add a favourite?’ or ‘Your app just crashes’. Users are much better off emailing the developer in question so they can help resolve the problem. By all means if they don’t respond, tell people in reviews. All too often I see support issues in the review system. Developers have no way whatsoever to respond to these, both sides loose out when support problems end up as 1 star reviews. Dev’s get a bad rep & have no idea how to reproduce the problem and the user still has no way to resolve the issue.
Secondly. I can understand users are very eager to get their hands on the latest & greatest iOS shown off at WWDC. So they sign up for developer accounts for £59…with a few clicks, an alternative restore through iTunes, voilà, latest iOS is installed on your shinny iPhone. Problem is, this is beta software and there’s a very good reason it’s called beta software. It’s not finished.
Downloading & installing beta versions of iOS is akin to moving into a near-new house with missing windows, no carpet & some furnishing. In other words, it’s a building site. If you don’t understand this distinction, then you have no business installing it. You may not even be able to roll back to a prior iOS because of the firmware (software written directly to internal chip-sets) updates that will occur. You could brick your phone.
Right now…iOS5 eats battery life, transition animations need optimisation and many applications (including Apple ones) will crash. Through no fault of the developer, some third party apps will not work at all, we are not clairvoyant. There is no point in dev’s releasing fixes for these issues yet because this is just beta 1, there could be 6 or more beta rounds to go. All the while these problems will be ironed out (by Apple, dev’s or both), altered or maybe even others introduced. The end goal of this process is to release a stable iOS, along with working & performant applications that we are all happy with.