At WWDC 2013 Apple showed off Auto Layout to developers. Developers who adopted this new technology later discovered that supporting the new iPhone sizes was a lot easier than without Auto Layout.
During WWDC 2014 Apple, while hinting at bigger screen sizes, also started taking about size classes for apps. At a glance, it all seemed confusing and unnecessary complex. Here again, a year later, developers who want to use the iPad Splitscreen multitasking in iOS 9 found out that it’s free if you already support all the existing technologies mentioned above.
Similar, developers who added Hand-off and Continuity to their app with iOS 8, now get most of the new Spotlight integrations without a lot of extra work.
There’s a story here: each WWDC Apple releases two kinds of technology: new tech that seems more work to implement than its worth. And code that expands on what was previously introduced.
If you did your work for the former, the latter is easy.
But what about users?
Apple launched Apple Music to the world last week. But if you want to use the Family Subscription option, you needed to have Family Sharing already activated for your family. Also, for Family Sharing to work, each member of your family needs to have his or her own Apple ID for purchases.
Families who still used a shared AppleID for purchases and a separate iCloud account per family member (e.g. people like my parents) found themselves lost in a complex mess of Apple ID’s and user data that needed to be migrated in between accounts. A mess that they needed to sort out before they could start using Apple Music as a family.
So here too, if you’d have followed Apple’s guidance and created a separate iCloud/App Store account per person, later enabled Family Sharing with iOS 8, moving to Apple Music and enabling Family Subscriptions is super easy.
But making the jump from an old shared Apple ID to separate iCloud Family Accounts now, a few years after Apple introduced iCloud is rough and complex. Doing it gradually year after year is a lot less work.
In the end, if you start using a platform it’s always wiser to use the platform as intended, instead of ignoring the best practices and creating your own alternative methods. Chances of ending up into a dead end street are smaller, and everything runs just a bit more smoothly.
So now I wonder, what breadcrumbs are we missing that are available in Apple’s platform right now, that will be obvious paths to new technology the next year?