As Apple develops its next versions of iOS, it may enlist the help of users to stomp out bugs from the mobile operating system. Starting with iOS 8.3, the company reportedly has plans to release the OS through its Appleseed public beta program, according to sources speaking to 9to5Mac. iOS 8.3 is expected to arrive in March.
While this would be a first for iOS, Apple previously experimented with opening up its desktop software to the public for beta testing. With OS X Yosemite, the company accepted one million participants to test the software prior to its October 2014 release and give their feedback. For iOS, the pool may be limited to just 100,000 participants.
Apple is expected to bring the public beta program to iOS 9 as well this summer – if, or when -- it is unveiled in June during the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
As seen in developer beta versions, iOS 8.3 will bring a number of features to iOS, including wireless CarPlay support, easier logins for Google users with two-factor authentication enabled and new emojis. Code in the iOS 8.3 beta has also pointed to an Apple Pay rollout in China through UnionPay.
But stalled talks between Apple and UnionPay may prove to be an obstacle. While iOS 8.3 will add more features to iOS 8, Apple is expected to take a different approach with iOS 9, prioritizing bug fixes and optimization, much like Snow Leopard did for OS X. But that doesn’t mean that new features will be entirely absent. Some likely additions could include transit and indoor mapping tools.