Note: This is the fourth and final report about whether the time is right to upgrade to beta versions of Apple’s two new operating systems, iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite.
On Monday, Apple launched iOS 8 beta 4 and OS X Yosemite developer preview 4. It should be a few more weeks before final versions become available to the general public.
When will that be? If recent history is any indication, expect both new operating systems to arrive in September or October. In the case of iOS 8, it should drop right before Apple releases the so-called “iPhone 6.”
Last year, Apple released six iOS 7 betas before launching the GM, or gold master edition. One year earlier, iOS 6 went through four betas before the GM was handed to developers.
The longest development process for an iOS release occurred in 2011 with iOS 5. That year, there were seven betas followed by the GM.
Do you really want the iOS 8 beta?
Apple doesn’t want non-developers to use iOS betas. Nonetheless, it happens.
If you’re planning on updating to iOS 8, we believe the time has come to do so, as we found iOS 8 beta 4 much more stable than past versions.
Are there still bugs? Absolutely. Still, if you consider yourself fairly tech savvy and understand that dealing with bugs is part of the beta process, you should update your iPhone/iPod touch or iPad to iOS beta 4.
Want to wait? Using iOS 7 and iOS 6 as benchmarks, the fifth beta should arrive sometime during the first two weeks of August.
OS X Yosemite
This year, Apple launched an OS X Beta Program. Limited to the first 1 million registered, this is a great way for non-developers to take a look at Apple’s latest Mac software, OS X Yosemite. Apple has yet to release a beta version to these folks, but should do so very soon.
OS X Yosemite developer preview 4 isn’t perfect, but like the version before it, we believe it is stable enough for installation on your everyday Mac.
Please note: Apple does not offer technical support on prerelease versions of iOS or OS X.
We’ll continue to follow all of the developments with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite in the coming weeks and months.
In the meantime, see: Apple unveils a beautiful new iTunes 12 design for OS X Yosemite, Apple's iOS 8 beta 4 enhances dictation, adds live feedback, and Apple’s iOS 8 beta 4 features a new Tips app and more.