This new program will mark Apples first expansionof pre-release iOSversion testing beyond developers and employees within the walls of Apples Cupertino headquarters.For the past few Mac OS X releases, Apple has provided early copies of the system to employees, which has helped Apple identify bugs before public launches.
The inclusion of retail store employees is said to begin soon with the prerelease testing of iOS 8.2, which is expected to be officially released alongside the Apple Watch in March. As of December, three beta builds of the upcoming software update have been made available by Apple to developers.
In all likelihood, the expansion is being carried out by Apple so as to better ensure the reliability of future software releases and updates. This is especially reasonable in light of the disaster that was iOS 8.0.1, which Apple admitted was a mistake but chalked up to how the update was distributed and not to a bug in the software itself.
News of the iOS testing programs expected expansion comes on the heels of a widespread discussion of the quality (or apparent lack thereof) of Apples current software offerings, sparked by Instapaper creator Marco Arments statement that Apple has lost the functional high ground.