iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2 and iOS 8.3 currently being tested, could be a sign of faster update cycles

image iOS 8 front

On Wednesday, September 17, Apple officially released iOS 8 to the public. It would be just over a week later that they’d release iOS 8.0.1, break crucial features like the cellular connection in iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, and need to release a subsequent software update soon after. Now, a new report has surfaced that suggests Apple could be changing up the way they handle software updates.

According to a report published by 9to5Mac, Apple is currently not only testing iOS 8.1 in the wild, but also iOS 8.2 and iOS 8.3. This initially comes from an unnamed source, which is currently working on a hardware-connected iOS app, and shared their analytics with the publication. Within the analytics report, all three of the major software upgrades are listed as platforms that are currently being tested around Cupertino, California. The publication subsequently confirmed the source’s information with their own analytics, stating that iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2 and iOS 8.3 are indeed mobile platforms that have visited their site.

In fact, it would appear that iOS 8.1 has been in testing for quite some time, even preceding the public launch of iOS 8. However, both iOS 8.2 and iOS 8.3 are recent additions to the analytics report, both of which only coming to fruition following the launch of iOS 8.

It is not a secret that Apple tends to launch a new software platform alongside a major hardware release. As has been the case for several years now, Apple launches a major version of their mobile platform with a major device, or close to it. This year, for example, saw the launch of iOS 8 just a couple of days before the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. However, it has recently been revealed that these two areas do not always play well together, and are oftentimes launched/updated separately. This could be why these later updates are currently being tested in the wild.

There are several other possibilities, too. Apple could be tying these major updates to software features and hardware that’s scheduled to launch later this year. Specifically, Apple has to have an update for iOS that ties to the launch of Apple Pay, the NFC-based mobile payment system that’s set to launch in October. Then, in early 2015, Apple will launch their first smartwatch, the Apple Watch, which will undoubtedly shepherd in another update to iOS 8 to handle support for the device as it falls onto the public’s wrist. One of the updates, perhaps iOS 8.3, could even be a specific version of the mobile OS designed for the 12.9-inch iPad that’s rumored to launch in 2015.

It could also simply suggest that Apple is prepared to launch these types of updates, these significant upgrades, at a much faster rate, rather than simply release small updates until the next year, when they launch another major upgrade (like iOS 9 in September, 2015).

It will be interesting to see what these software updates actually mean for consumers. Should they expect more frequent software updates, or will everything remain the same?

What do you think these major software versions could mean?

[via 9to5Mac]