Software

Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 12, has been out for just shy of a year, and a staggering 88% of all active iOS devices are running it.

The Cupertino, California-based company frequently updates the number of devices running its OS, and the latest numbers based on App Store data claim that 88% of active iOS devices run some version of iOS 12. As you might suspect, that means there’s a hefty drop for the previous version, iOS 11. Only 7% of active devices are running Apple’s previous OS, and a paltry 5% run a version of iOS older than that.

This continues to be great news for Apple, which had managed to update 50% of all active iOS devices to iOS 12 within a month of release. This new data proves Apple hadn’t peaked too soon, and is more than capable of sustaining upgrades across time. It helps that iOS 12 is compatible with the largest range of Apple devices ever, of course. The update was even available for the then 5-year-old iPhone 5S.

It means iOS 12 will be able to end on a high, as it will soon be replaced by iOS 13. Apple’s latest version of its mobile operating system is currently in public beta, and promises to bring a wealth of new features to compatible iPhones and iPods. There’s the usual performance improvements, but the most exciting additions include a new systemwide dark mode, a swipe-type keyboard, improved video-editing tools, and much more.

Keen-eyed users may have noticed we didn’t mention iPads back there — and that’s because iOS 13 sees the end of a combined iOS for iPhones and iPads. Starting with iOS 13, iPads will enjoy their own specialized version of the mobile OS, called iPadOS. While the two operating systems will share many features, iPadOS will feature a number of special features just for tablets, including mouse support, a new home screen, and windowed support for apps.

Both iOS 13 and iPadOS are expected to arrive in fall 2019. Expect a large number of devices to update to it as soon as it arrives. Apple maintains tight control over its operating system and hardware, which allows the company to see high adoption rates of its latest software. Google’s Android version updates, on the other hand, have to be released by a myriad of manufacturers and by carriers if the device is locked — a process which tends to lead to slow adoption of the latest OS version.

Software

When Microsoft announced DirectX 12 in 2014, it did not reveal any compatibility information. The new version of DirectX was announced at a time when Windows 8 was the latest operating system; Windows 10 was released in 2015.

We assumed back then that Microsoft would limit DirectX artificially to Windows 8 or the upcoming version of Windows which we assumed would be Windows 9.

Microsoft revealed at the end of 2014 that Windows 10 would indeed ship with DirectX 12 support. Rumors suggested that the new version would not be made available to earlier versions of Windows, and a Microsoft support article confirmed that. Windows 7 systems were stuck with DirectX 11.0 and 11.1, Windows 8.1 with Direct X 11.1 and 11.2

Four years later, in early 2019, Microsoft suddenly announced that DirectX 12 support would be coming to select games on Windows 7.  Game companies urged Microsoft to bring DirectX 12 to Windows 7 to make use of advanced capabilities and reduce development costs at the same time.

Microsoft began to port the Direct3D 12 runtime as a response to Windows 7. Blizzard, maker of World of Warcraft and other games, was the first company to support a DirectX 12 game on Windows 7. World of Warcraft gamers could run the game using DirectX 12 to benefit from better framerates and other improvements.

Options to bring DirectX 12 games to Windows 7 devices were limited initially but work with several game studios — none is mentioned in particular except Blizzard — continued after the initial announcement.

Microsoft released a new development guidance in August 2019 to allow game developers to run their DirectX 12 games on Windows 7.

“To better support game developers at larger scales, we are publishing the following resources to allow game developers to run their DirectX 12 games on Windows 7.”

Developers can check out the Porting D3D12 games to Windows 7 guide to get started.  The guide is divided into several chapters. It begins with a list of files and drivers that are needed to set up a development system and test machines. Other chapters reveal how to get DirectX 12 games up and ready on Windows 7 PCs, give optimization tips and release suggestions.