iPhone App Fragmentation FUD Is Looming


ZDNet ran a story this afternoon with a very provocative headline: Not all iPhone apps work on the Verizon iPhone — fragmentation looming? Oh no! Android was supposed to be the platform with the fragmentation problem, not the iPhone! The end must be near, right? Nah.

Author James Kendrick notes that Telenav has just unveiled a version of their turn-by-turn navigation app that will work on the Verizon iPhone. More to the point, Kendrick says that Telenav told him that the app had to be reworked to work on the new device. Leaving aside that the original app was called the “AT&T Navigator”, so clearly they had to rework the name, Kendrick notes, “The Verizon iPhone required modifications to the Telenav app to make it work with the new hardware in the handset.”

So what kind of modifications? Well, Telenav wouldn’t explicitly say. “The company did not elaborate which hardware differences forced the changes, but the primary difference in the two versions of the iPhone lie in the radios (GSM vs. CDMA) and perhaps the GPS chipset,” Kendrick writes.

Hmm. Okay.

But wait, I’ve been using the Verizon iPhone for about two weeks now as I tested it for my review. I’ve used dozens of apps on the new hardware and haven’t once found an app that would not work. This includes several location apps which make use of the phone’s GPS chip. They all work, unmodified.

Further, when I spoke with Apple about apps running on the Verizon iPhone versus the AT&T variety, they assured me that all my apps would run the same just as they always have. They did note that Verizon may launch some of their own apps just as AT&T has, which obviously would not run on the other hardware. But that seems to be more up to the carriers, and tying into their own services, and less about technical hurdles.

And wait, let’s look at the AT&T Navigator. Why is the AT&T name even in the title? Oh, because it is billed directly to your AT&T statement. That, while not mentioned, would definitely be something that would prevent it from working on the Verizon iPhone.

There are clearly some internal changes to the Verizon iPhone — the CDMA chip and a revamped antenna design, chief among them — but I’m failing to see how those will lead to apps that have to be reworked and thus, lead to a fragmentation of the App Store. Maybe there’s something special about turn-by-turn apps (I don’t use any). But beyond carrier billing, I’m just not sure what that is. It definitely doesn’t seem to be the GPS chip that is causing an issue, or Foursquare, Gowalla, and the like would have issues too. They don’t.

The point is that while “fragmentation looming” sounds scary and makes for a sexy headline, it’s complete nonsense from my perspective. That is, the perspective of someone who has used all of his apps — again, unmodified — on the Verizon iPhone.

Update: ZDNet has published a new story correcting their earlier one. They key part of Telenav’s update to them:

The only differences in the development of the application from our perspective are related to backend items not related to the hardware including 1.) billing changes due to the Verizon version being billed to the iTunes account and AT&T Navigator being billed on the AT&T bill 2.) Branding differences in the app design due to this being a TeleNav branded application and 3.) The feature sets of TeleNav GPS and AT&T Navigator are different and the app needed to be re-designed for this as well.

So, like we was likely the case above, what needed to be changed was mainly the billing and branding information.

More TechCrunch

Ahead of the AI safety summit kicking off in Seoul, South Korea later this week, its co-host the United Kingdom is expanding its own efforts in the field. The AI…

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

12 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

3 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

3 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities