Apple is reported to be planning a public beta for iOS, starting with iOS 8.3 next month. According to 9to5Mac, this first-ever beta program is aimed at reducing bugs in new versions of its operating system.
Beta testers for iOS 8.3 will be drawn from the company’s invitation-only AppleSeed program, 9to5Mac reports. Apple reportedly also plans a public beta release for iOS 9 sometime this summer.
By making iOS updates available for beta testing, Apple appears to be building on its experience with OS X Yosemite last year. Launched in October, the first version of OS X Yosemite was quickly followed by new updates as beta testers identified numerous bugs and glitches in the earlier releases.
Building on OS X Beta Program
Apple’s OS X Beta Program lets users “take part in shaping updates to OS X Yosemite by test-driving pre-release versions,” according to the program’s Web page. Program testers who find issues with the operating system can report them back to Apple using a built-in Feedback Assistant application.
Some 1 million people were able to register for the OS X Public Beta program after its launch. By contrast, Apple reportedly will limit the public beta for iOS to 100,000 users, according to 9to5Mac.
“Codenamed Stowe, iOS 8.3 was first seeded to developers in early February with several enhancements,” 9to5Mac reported. “The updated software includes support for Wireless CarPlay, an upgraded Emoji keyboard, an enhanced voice for Siri, and simpler login for Google services. A second 8.3 beta is expected next week.”
We reached out to Apple for more details about its coming public beta program for iOS, but did not receive an immediate response.
News Draws Mixed Reaction
The news about Apple’s new direction with public beta testing drew mixed responses online. “I’m forecasting a lot of broken apps and a lot of complaining testers,” one commenter on 9to5Mac wrote.
However, other commenters saw the development as a positive.
“That probably means that they are feeling confident enough with their next releases if they are willing to expand the testing audience,” wrote another user. “I’m sure this is the end of the recent bugginess we’ve seen from them.”
Another commenter noted: “If this helps cut down on gray market betas and provides a more stable final release then it’s only a benefit for end users. Windows has been doing this for years. I’m surprised at the negative reactions.”
In other Apple developments, the company announced Monday that it would be spending 1.7 billion euros ($1.93 billion) to build and operate two new European data centers, one in Ireland and one in Denmark. Both are to be 100-percent powered by wind and other renewable energy sources.
Posted: 2015-02-23 @ 2:37pm PT
This is long overdue. Hopefully this provides stability in future releases and Apple not scrambling to make fixes as soon as a new version comes out.
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