Apple allows legacy devices to download last compatible versions of iOS apps
With Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) poised to release its iOS 7 to consumers on Sept. 18, the company has updated its App Store to enable legacy iPhone devices to download the most recent compatible versions of iOS applications.
iOS 7 supports the iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini and iPod touch 5th generation: Apple has not optimized the update for older devices like the iPhone 3GS and first-generation iPad. Moving forward, owners of those legacy iOS devices that attempt to install apps and games from the App Store will see a prompt reading "Download an older version of this app? The current version requires iOS [version number] or later, but you can download the last compatible version."
The change effectively enables developers to leverage new iOS 7 features and enhancements while still supporting consumers who are unable or unwilling to upgrade their Apple device. Apple CEO Tim Cook has called iOS 7 "the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone," and its radically overhauled user interface--most notable for the elimination of skeuomorphism, the longstanding iOS design aesthetic that leverages real-world images and metaphors like linen-textured backgrounds, wooden bookshelves and spiral-bound notebooks--may alienate some users reluctant to embrace change.
Consumers have downloaded more than 50 billion iOS applications since the App Store opened in 2008. As of July 2013, third-party iOS developers have raked in more than $11 billion through App Store sales, with half of that total earned during the previous four quarters.
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