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iPhone Developer Summit: iPhone Testing (or Lack Thereof)

There were a couple of snags while demoing some of the new iPhone apps.

On Monday, Apple announced a whole bunch of exciting and innovative new products.  Two of the more anticipated were the iPhone 3GS and version 3.0 of the iPhone software.  Both of these introduce interesting new features for iPhone users everywhere.  You can watch the entire keynote here.

Apple’s keynote presentation went very well, but there were a couple of snags while demoing some of the new iPhone apps.  Two different apps had problems with their demos.  One app had an issue with some on-stage props, but the other simply stopped working in the middle of its presentation.

The presenters for both apps recovered and continued to highlight other features of their products.  However, I can’t exactly fault them for having trouble.  In fact, what actually surprised me was that so many of the apps worked given how difficult Apple makes testing iPhone apps.

iPhone 3GS

Here’s roughly how the process goes:  A new iPhone developer first needs an Apple developer account.  Once they access that account, they can start finding testers.  However, Apple makes it difficult for just anyone to test new versions of their iPhone OS, so you must now locate the super rare iPhone 3.0 beta testers. Once you’ve found these people, they need to send you their UDID - a difficult to locate unique number that identifies their iPhone.

So let’s assume that you have testers and their UDIDs.  Now, you must code these numbers into your app, specially compile it with all kinds of extra steps, and send it to your testers.

This is madness!

Apple makes it unnecessarily difficult to test their applications so that they can maintain more control over the App Store experience.  While that may add some user value, and plenty of value for them, it comes at the expense of buggier iPhone applications that are harder for the average developer to test.

Of course, that’s good for uTest.  We have iPhone testers, their UDIDs, and experience with testing mobile apps.  However, I still think Apple could make it easier on their developers.  Better apps mean a better user experience and happier iPhone users.

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More Stories By Jennifer Moebius

Jennifer Moebius, Public Relations Manager at uTest, champions media efforts, analyst relations and speaking/awards programs. A media maven and creative writer, Jennifer’s accomplishments include feature articles in BusinessWeek, Fortune, Dow Jones, The New York Times and Investor’s Business Daily. Prior to uTest, Jennifer was Senior Account Executive at boutique PR firm Emerge Public Relations where she managed PR programs for a variety of tech clients including Burton Group, Information Builders, Action Engine, Tizor Systems, good2gether and Harvard Business Publishing.