Apple will add select retail employees to its iOS pre-release testing program, multiple sources have revealed to 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman. The expanded testing program is set to be launched soon, possibly with iOS 8.2, the sources say.
Before this initiative, Apple seeded pre-release versions of iOS to a limited number of users: developers and Apple employees at the company’s Cupertino headquarters. As for Mac OS X, Apple used to seed early copies to select employees, who helped the company identify bugs before the public launch.
Last year, however, Apple changed tactics and invited the public to help the company develop better desktop software by testing the beta versions of the upcoming OS X and sending feedback.
Extending the testing program could benefit Apple, as it would receive better feedback during the beta period.
It is likely that Apple is expanding its testing program in order to ensure that it receives a wider array of proper feedback during beta periods. Apple has acknowledged that its beta testing pool is filled with a notable percentage of users who solely wish to test out new features, not program their apps or provide critical feedback, says Gurman.
The initiative comes at a time when users have been complaining about bugs Apple left in the software it recently released, which has harmed the company’s reputation. Recently, Marco Arment touched a nerve with a blog post in which he sounded off about the lack of superior OS X updates.