Apple is reportedly set to expand its testing program for prerelease versions of iOS to include select retail store employees.
As reported by 9to5Mac:
This new program will mark Apple’s first expansion of pre-release iOS version testing beyond developers and employees within the walls of Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. For the past few Mac OS X releases, Apple has provided early copies of the system to employees, which has helped Apple identify bugs before public launches.
The inclusion of retail store employees is said to begin soon with the prerelease testing of iOS 8.2, which is expected to be officially released alongside the Apple Watch in March. As of December, three beta builds of the upcoming software update have been made available by Apple to developers.
In all likelihood, the expansion is being carried out by Apple so as to better ensure the reliability of future software releases and updates. This is especially reasonable in light of the disaster that was iOS 8.0.1, which Apple admitted was a “mistake” but chalked up to how the update was distributed and not to a bug in the software itself.
News of the iOS testing program’s expected expansion comes on the heels of a widespread discussion of the quality (or apparent lack thereof) of Apple’s current software offerings, sparked by Instapaper creator Marco Arment’s statement that “Apple has lost the functional high ground.”
See also: Apple to implement App Store price changes in Canada, Russia and Europe, Apple releases fourth developer beta of OS X Yosemite 10.10.2, and Following holiday quarter, iOS 8 adoption rises to 68 percent of active iOS devices.