ince the launch of the app store, one of the most talked about areas has been the release of updates for applications.
In the computer industry these have often been called “Patchs”, and alway the developers to release bug fixes and additional contents to the application that you have already purchased.
The App Store, unlike the computer model, does not allow for a simple small amount of data to be added, instead you must download the entire application again, which then is a different version number etc.
So you end up with several upsides and downsides to these update method.
- The new application is already fully tested and complete, so no risk of a patch not updating properly.
- With a complete application download required, the developer often decides to add new content to make the update worthwhile downloading
- If the application is large, then the user may have to wait to download the contents, for example, not all people are on unlimited broadband and a 250MB application may be 5% of a monthly download cap. It is certainly not possible to download over the 3G network.
- May enter up with versioning issues, if people do not update, then you cannot switch off a feature if 20% of your users are still on v1.0.
- People begin to expect extras when they patch their applications.
Another issue of the update method, is sometimes Apple have been blamed for taking too long to release to the app store. So for an example, a developer thinks he has fixed a bug with his v1.0 game, and releases v1.1 via the app store, however, the second it is released to the public, a major issue is found, and v1.2 is needed to release to fix it. Apple take time checking the code, in the meantime, v1.1 remains on the app store with more people downloading it, which is not good news for the users and most of all the developer who is now getting 1 star reviews.
There have been millions of these updates released on the app store now, and many are simple bug fixes, but several have changed the application completely, and have been major talking points in the industry.
Here are some examples of Updates done right.
Pocket God – Now into 33rd version, the release rate has now slowed by the developers, but there was a time when a new version came out every few weeks, and added new features and games to the application. All this for £0.59, the public were very impressed with the developers and Pocket God rode high in the reviews and the charts.
All-in-1 Gamesbox – Is now up to 35 games are in this application. Every fews months a few games are added to the Gamebox and it makes you feel you have received lots of freebies. Again another £0.59 application.
Angry Birds – New levels, New Birds, New achievements. The great application just keeps getting greater.
On the flip side of this, there are the updates that are done wrong or never come at all.
One famous example was Facebook, the locations update that was released, and then a new version that removed it, as it was unavailable outside the US.
There have also been releases were the developers made the software unusable apart from on the latest OS.
The most annoying of course, is the update that never come, where a game has a major bug or lots of minor bugs, by the developers decide to never go past version v1.0, as they already have your money, and they would rather push the next application forwards, then revisit old code.
The release of updates really depends on the size of the development team and the love of the developers for the title.
If the developer has the time to concentrate on the existing product, it can often push the title towards the top of charts if it is quality product.