Later this year, the iPhone maker will begin offering the first-ever public beta program for the iOS operating system, according to 9to5Mac.
Building on the success of last year’s OS X Public Beta program, Apple is planning to release iOS 8.3 as a public beta, as early as mid-March. The public beta will launch via the company’s existing AppleSeed program and will match the third iOS 8.3 beta for developers.
The first iOS 8.3 beta was released to developers on Feb. 9. It features new wireless CarPlay capabilities, a new emoji picker, and support for Google’s two-factor authentication system. It also introduces Apple Pay support in China.
Apple’s iOS public beta program is expected to continue with iOS 9, which will launch in June at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). An iOS 9 public beta will arrive in mid-summer, with a final release set for the fall.
According to 9to5Mac:
The main goal of the iOS beta program will be a more reliable and widely tested operating system by the time of the wider consumer launch, as Apple has come under fire for lack of quality control in iOS 8. Launching public beta versions of iOS will also reduce the demand for unauthorized sales of beta downloads from developer accounts, which enabled some consumers to test-drive future iOS features.
I also like that the proposed program provides a safeguard where the public isn’t involved in the process until at least two beta versions are released to developers first. This should ensure that most of the more significant early beta nuisances are eliminated prior to a public launch.
Apple is currently testing three iOS 8 betas.
Besides iOS 8.3, the company recently released iOS 8.2 beta 5 to developers. Cupertino is also testing iOS 8.4 internally. The iOS 8.2 update allows the upcoming Apple Watch to talk to iPhone, while iOS 8.4 is rumored to feature Apple’s rebranded Beats streaming music service.
We’ll let you know when Apple officially announces the company’s new iOS beta program.