Apple announced a temporary halt to software development planned for iPhone, iPad, Mac and other Apple devices next year. This step was taken to eliminate bugs in the code and improve the overall stability of software solutions.
The decision was made at an internal company meeting last week and is aimed at strengthening code quality control after numerous bugs were discovered in early versions of the software, according to people familiar with the matter. Instead of developing new features, Apple engineers focused on fixing bugs and improving the performance of existing code.
Known for its intuitive interface and high level of privacy, Apple software is one of the key factors in the brand’s success. In this context, maintaining high software quality becomes a priority. But the company must find a balance between innovation and the reliability of proprietary software.
In recent years, Apple has increasingly focused on quality, even if it means delaying the introduction of new features. So in 2018, Craig Federighi, head of software development, postponed a number of unrealized iPhone features until next year, fearing that the software contained too many bugs.
In 2019, he changed Apple’s approach to software development to prevent problems from occurring. Now each new feature is activated manually using so-called “feature flags,” which allows testers to isolate the impact of an innovation on the overall system before it is implemented.
An internal contract called the “Pact” was also introduced. It instructs employees to avoid regressions in the use of the software and to correct errors promptly. Thanks to these measures, the latest versions of Apple software have fewer bugs and new features require less delay.
However, the recent development cycle has uncovered many “leaks” (escapes) – errors that were not discovered during testing. Because of this, the software development team made the unusual decision to pause new feature development for a week to address the backlog of bugs.
Because thousands of Apple employees work to develop various operating systems and devices, coordinating their interactions is a complex task that can be prone to disruption. “This is a problem where 10,000 people write code that can completely destroy software platforms.“,” one of the employees remarked.
Last month, the company completed the first version of its next operating system for iPhone, iPad and Mac, called M1. This is the first important stage of development. The software for iPhone and iPad, which will be iOS 18 and iPadOS 18, is called Crystal. The Mac software macOS 15 is called Glow.
Work on the second stage, known as M2, has been delayed. This also affected the next operating system for the Apple Watch – watchOS 11 called Moonstone – as well as the iOS 17.4 update, which is expected to be released in March next year.
The suspension also affected future versions of visionOS, the software for Apple’s Vision Pro headset, which is scheduled for release early next year. However, delays in development are not currently expected to delay the release of products to end users. The suspension of development is set to end this week.
Traditionally, Apple unveils its major software updates in September each year after introducing them to developers and users at a conference in June. Next year, the company plans to focus on integrating generative AI into its products.
Apple’s decision to temporarily pause development of new features in favor of bug fixes reflects the company’s commitment to excellence. This may cause temporary dissatisfaction among users and developers, but in the long term this approach can only strengthen brand trust. Improving software quality and stability is an investment in user experience that is an integral part of Apple’s philosophy.