The snow has melted, the trees and flowers are just starting to bloom and there's a growing warmth in the air, so this could only mean one thing; the rumour mill and leaks about the next version of both the iPhone and iOS are starting to pick up steam. In the last few days I have seen a number of rumour compilation posts pop up. The biggest rumour, which can't seem to be shaken, is that the next iPhone will clearly be larger with a greater screen area than the 5 or 5S. If this is true, it seems like it will be a pretty big departure for Apple, away from their original concept that all people should be able to reach every corner of the screen when using the device with only one hand. While this difference will be important for usability, the more important thing for all of us that build apps is, how do we deliver a great experience to our users while taking into account all of the different screen sizes.
This has been an ongoing issue for those of us that build Android apps and it is generally believed that the unified screen sizes of the iOS platform is what has kept that platform so polished (that and a rigid review system). But now with the prospect of the iPhone 6 having a brand new resolution and size, we will see people carrying a wide array of iOS devices with different screen sizes, 5 to be precise (iPhone 3.5", iPhone 4", iPad Mini 7.9", iPad Air 9.7", iPhone ?). Compared to Android where there are well over 100 different screen sizes, this seems like nothing, but for any concerned producer of mobile apps, any variation in screen size across devices presents a challenge in giving the user an optimal experience. More importantly, monetization is a game of small percentages. The general result of a proliferation of screen sizes and resolutions tends to be design that takes all of the variations into account, without being "perfect" for any of them individually. Delivering a one-size-fits-all design means that you leave every user under-served.
If you want to truly deliver a great experience to your users, and encourage those users to either purchase something or take a desired action, you need to make sure that at the very least your app feels like it was designed just for the device it is being used on. Even better is when you can make your app feel like it was designed just for the individual. That is when you truly get great conversion, retention and engagement.
To do our part, we're going to make sure that we post commentary, recommendations and suggestions on how to handle the upgrade of your app to take iOS 8 and iPhone 6 into account, as more information becomes available. The upgrade to iOS 7 was clearly a big deal, with very major and real costs associated. Luckily iOS 8 doesn't seem to have further major redesigns, but new resolutions, new devices and new software always result in new requirements for 3rd party apps. It is important to be prepared and to have a good understanding of what you need to do to succeed.