Work Continues on iOS 8.1.3 With Retail Employees Receiving Second Beta Seed
Apple is continuing its behind-the-scenes work on the upcoming iOS 8.1.3 update, and as of yesterday, retail employees that have been testing the software received a second iOS 8.1.3 beta, build 12B466, which is six builds newer than the previous seed they received on Wednesday, January 7.
Last week, we speculated that the iOS 8.1.3 beta was close to release due to the fact that it was shared with quite a few retail employees, but it appears there are still bugs that Apple is working on fixing before it provides the 8.1.3 update to the public. MacRumors continues to see an uptick in the number of visits received from devices running iOS 8.1.3, and while we expect the update will be released to the public in the next week or two, it is not clear exactly when a launch could come.
According to our source, iOS 8.1.3 appears to contain only under-the-hood bug fixes with no readily apparent visual changes to the operating system. Apple has not provided employees with release notes.
With iOS 8.1.2 and iOS 8.1.3 positioned as minor updates, Apple has opted not to share the software with developers ahead of its release, instead testing the updates in house. Testing the iOS 8.1.3 update with retail employees is a new move for Apple, as it marks the first time retail workers have been invited to participate in the testing of an iOS beta. Retail employees have been involved in the beta testing of OS X for years.
Apple may have avoided seeding the iOS 8.1.2 and 8.1.3 betas to developers in order to focus developer testing on iOS 8.2, which is currently on its fourth beta. iOS 8.2 is a major update that is expected to be released alongside the Apple Watch in the spring months.
As we mentioned last week, along with iOS 8.1.3 and iOS 8.2, our site metrics indicate that a small number of Apple employees in Cupertino are also working on iOS 9, the successor to iOS 8 that we expect will be previewed in the summer and released in the fall alongside new iPhones.
An iOS 8.3 update that was also observed in testing months ago has declined in activity according to our web logs, with visits from devices running it having peaked in late November and not rebounding significantly in the new year following the holiday lull.