Before the official retail release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Apple opened up a public beta, which gave customers an early preview of what was to come with the retail release (and gave Apple more data points to scour over when it came to bug reports). According to a new report from 9 to 5 Mac, it looks as though Apple will begin extending public betas to future releases of iOS.
Given the recent reports of quality issues with OS X and iOS, Apple could definitely use some more eyes to watch out for glaring bugs or stability issues. According to 9 to 5 Mac, “Apple intends to release the upcoming iOS 8.3 as a public beta via the company’s existing AppleSeed program in mid-March… This release will match the third iOS 8.3 beta for developers, which is planned for release the same week.”
As for the upcoming release of iOS 9, the publication adds, “Apple then expects to debut iOS 9 at its June Worldwide Developer Conference, with a public beta release during the summer, and final release in the fall.”
We’ve already heard that iOS 9 will be more of a maintenance release than one that adds a laundry list of new features. And with a reported 100,000 consumers joining Apple employees and iOS developers in testing out future versions of iOS, there should be less of an excuse for any glaring issues (**cough** Safari copy/paste issues in the first release of iOS 8 **cough**) for the retail release of iOS 9.
Opening up iOS betas to consumers will also have an added benefit [for Apple] in that it should reduce the number of unauthorized UDID activations that take place when the first betas of a new iOS version are made available to developers. Currently, some iOS developers sell access to betas via ecommerce sites like eBay, which is against Apple’s developer agreement. An iOS user pays a small fee (usually $3 to $5) and emails their device UDID to the seller. At that point, the seller will add the UDID to their developer account, which in turn activates the device with Apple’s servers and gives it access to iOS betas.