iOS 7.0 Upgrades and Security

Well, here we are.  Another version of Apple’s iOS that is supposed to wow us with all sorts of new functionality.  That’s all great and everything but since I use my iPhone for work our work people have an internal page that shows what will work and what won’t with the current release.  They’ve performed both a great service to me and a great disservice to you.  For me, I’ll know when I can safely upgrade and have all of my work-based apps work.  For you, since I’m delaying my upgrade, it also means delaying any fixes to security vulnerabilities that could impact people elsewhere on the network.

Did Apple make a mistake by not making iOS 7 compatible with iOS 6? If their goals are to have a very secure operating system, then it’s quite possible.  But typically a company’s goal is profitability, and here an expanded platform with broader capabilities might suit the tastes of both users and developers in the long run.  And so once again, security may have taken a back seat.

It is possible that Apple could mitigate this situation directly by telling developers that the phone won’t run apps on the old platform after a certain date.  This might actually align both sets of interests: the public’s security interest and Apple’s interest in not having to support older interfaces.

This works until the value to the consumer  of laggards well exceeds that of the combination of those who have updated their software and the value of the upgrade itself to the consumer.  Once that line is crossed, people will stop upgrading their operating system, returning us to the state we are in, today.  Let’s all hope Angry Birds is up to date.

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