iPhone platform set to become fragmented

On Monday at its keynote speech during the WWDC event Apple made a big thing about the Android platform and its fragmentation, but it seems that Apple is about to let the iPhone platform become fragmented in the coming months.

The company showcased its new iOS 6 operating system along with its new features, but as we reported yesterday some of these features won’t be coming to the likes of the iPhone 4, and Cnet are wondering if Apple is fragmenting the iPhone. The company are still marketing and selling the likes of the iPhone 3GS, iPhone, and iPad 2, but it makes you wonder if eventually only certain Apple apps and services will run on some devices and not on others.

The turn-by-turn directions won’t be coming to the iPhone 4 along with Siri, and it basically got no speech to text at all, and some may see this as an aggressive move by Apple to get users to upgrade to a newer iPhone. The iPhone 4 is two years old now, but the CDMA version wasn’t released until February 2011, which will mean some Verizon customers have had the device for less than eighteen months.

Then we have the much delayed white iPhone 4 that didn’t arrive until April 2011 so many of these are just over a year old, and then we saw the 8GB version released last October. Some may say that the iPhone 4 is not capable of handling turn-by-turn directions, but there are a number of midrange Android smartphones that support this feature as well as speech to text. There are also a number of iPhone GPS navigation applications that provide turn-by-turn directions, which includes the free MapQuest among others.

So it is obvious that the iPhone 4 can easily handle such features but this makes you wonder if Apple left them out to try and get more people to upgrade to the iPhone 4S, or the next version of the smartphone later this year. As an iPhone is a premium smartphone and priced accordingly, you would have expected it to receive new features to keep up with the competition for more than eight months with regards to the 8GB iPhone 4.

Apple has three different versions of the iPhone for sale, each with different features, and the same can be said for the iPad. So customers picking up a free 3GS or a discounted iPhone 4 will be surprised to find out their device can’t do things that has been on Android devices for years. That’s not to say though that Android fragmentation is not a big problem for the platform, and are far worse than what iOS 6 will bring.

We may not see true fragmentation on the iPhone platform, but the iPhone 4 is a capable and powerful device even now, but leaving it behind is unnecessary and inconsiderate, and the company has always had a rapid upgrade agenda, but not while still selling the older versions. This could eventually backfire for the company as the competition continues to grow.

Do you have an iPhone 4 and feel let down with Apple’s plans?

Comments

One thought on “iPhone platform set to become fragmented”

  1. Reply
    Xuanlong says:

    It’s a little funny that Apple spent a good deal of time bashing Google for the fragmentation of Android, when they announce iOS 6, which is set to cause plenty of fragmentation of it’s own. While it’s a known problem on Android, Apple is as always being less than honest about fragmentation of it’s own OS. With so many of iOS 6’s features not being available to all iOS devices, they can call each device’s software the most up to date version (iOS6) but the user experience and capabilities will vary greatly from one device to the next. The only way Apple is currently avoiding fragmentation is basically in the label where it tells you what version of the OS you’re running. The problem will surely carry over. Once Apps show up in the app store that utilize the new iOS 6 features, will those apps work on all devices with iOS 6? Nope. 
    I think the worst part from the consumer perspective is that this is a deliberate attempt by Apple to push people into hardware updates. The iPhone 4’s specs are not radically different from the 4S’s. It has decent hardware for a smartphone and would certainly be capable of providing turn by turn directions, and even Siri for that matter. If you’d like to see the alternative, look at Microsoft. Windows Phone has almost no fragmentation at all, and every Windows Phone 7 device since the very first ones on the market have been eligible for every update so far, and each one runs it just as well as another. Newer phones often have some newer hardware, but the software experience is the same. There’s no cheap tricks to try and goad people into buying a new phone.

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