Veteran tech reporter Ina Fried, writing for Axios:
Apple has shaken up its iOS software plans for 2018, delaying some features to next year in an effort to put more focus on addressing performance and quality issues, Axios has learned.
Fried’s been around for a long time, and generally has good sources, so I’d definitely believe there are priorities perhaps being shifted here.
However, it’s always hard to tell what its normal prioritization vs. what is some kind of unforeseen shift. The report suggests that features like a home-screen redesign and CarPlay changes have been pushed into 2019. But it also says that improvements to AR and parental controls will still happen, alongside performance improvements. So clearly we’re not seeing a total abandoning of new features in iOS 12.
It wouldn’t be hard to cast that as a response to the whole iPhone battery kerfuffle, or to repeated calls for improvements to software quality. That doesn’t tend to be the way Apple does business, though–not to say it can’t change; there have been lots of shifts in Tim Cook’s tenure of CEO.
The obvious comparisons are the tick-tock cycle of upgrades that macOS follows, and if that’s the case, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Heck, I was promoting a similar strategy last week, so I can hardly come out against it.
But any major software release is all about prioritization, and I’m sure Apple has done the math of balancing new features vs. optimization pretty much every year. It may just be a matter of seeing behind the curtain this time around, combined with the context of the recent situations that Apple’s found itself in that makes this seem more significant. But it’s hard to say because, again, Apple tends to keep its hand pretty close to its vest.
In short: this is probably no cause for either panic or jubilation.