As a response to charges that quality control has been lacking in recent iOS releases, Apple will reportedly conduct public betas of iOS 8.3 and iOS 9.
Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac says multiple people who have been briefed on the plans tell him that Apple plans to launch the first-ever public beta program for the iOS operating system, hoping to squash bugs from those version prior to their public release.
Apple, fresh off of a successful public beta of OS X Yosemite in 2014, intends to release a public beta of iOS 8.3 via the company’s AppleSeed program in mid-March. The release will take place the same time beta three of iOS 8.3 is released to developers.
As for iOS 9, Apple will debut it, as is usual, at the June Worldwide Developers Conference, with a public beta release in the summer, and a final release set for fall.
The public beta releases are expected to be limited to 100,000 people, Gurman’s sources tell him, in order to maintain a higher level of exclusivity.
The first seed of iOS 8.3 was seeded to developers in February, and includes support for wireless CarPlay, an enhanced emoji keyboard, an improved voice for Siri, and simpler logins for Google-related services.
After coming under fire for a lack of quality control in iOS 8, Apple hopes the iOS beta program will lead to more reliable and more widely tested iOS updates being released to the public. It is also hoped the public beta will reduce the demand for blackmarket downloads of the developer betas, enabled by unauthorized sales of beta downloads from developer accounts. Apple is known to have been looking at ways to shut down such businesses.