Apple opens OS X beta program to the public for 10.9.3

OS X 10.9Apple does most of its hardware and software development behind closed doors, rarely giving public previews or commenting on rumors before it's ready to make an announcement. Today, the company made one small step in the other direction with the OS X Beta Seed Program, through which anyone with an Apple ID and a Mac can download and run the latest developer build of OS X 10.9.3.

Apple usually only offers these betas to limited test audiences or to registered Apple developers. It costs $99 a year to stay registered as an OS X developer (and another $99 a year if you want to get iOS software, too). Apple wouldn't tell us whether the Beta Seed program would extend to other OS X or iOS updates, or if major software releases like new iOS or OS X versions would also be offered this way, but it seems clear that the company wants to expand its pool of OS X testers beyond its developer audience.

Apple opens OS X beta program to the public for 10.9.3

Sign up for the program with your Apple ID and you'll be asked to agree to a non-disclosure agreement similar to the one that (theoretically) keeps developers from writing about or publicizing new fixes and features before they're released. You'll then download and install a small package to enable the beta updates, at which point OS X 10.9.3 and iTunes 11.1.6 builds can be downloaded through Software Update as they normally would.

We highly doubt that this will lead to public versions of early iOS and OS X betas. The 10.9.3 update being offered has already gone through a number of builds issued only to developers, and the one being sent out to the public is likely to be near-final. It's more likely that Apple is just trying to expand its pool of testers and limit the seemingly inevitable problems that small numbers of OS X users have every time they install a new major update. Any kind of public beta program is a departure from Apple's standard policies, but don't expect the company to start developing everything out in the open overnight.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Apple, Mac OS X, OSes

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