According to several Apple Retail employees, Apple management is cracking down on employee usage of the current iOS 7 betas. These people say that store managers and Apple’s Human Resources representatives are contacting employees that are discovered to be using the iOS 7 beta. Apple would like to make sure that these employees obtained the iOS 7 beta via official Developer channels, not third-party websites.
However, the larger concern is that some Apple managers feel that Apple Retail employees are purchasing developer accounts and distributing the iOS 7 beta to colleagues. Apple Human Resources, we’re told, has reminded employees of the official iOS Development rules via the RetailMe internal app. These rules, which employees agree to when they become an Apple retail employee, state that employees cannot install an iOS beta unless they are a registered member of the developer program:
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Am I allowed to load and use iOS beta software on my devices? Not unless you are a member of the iOS Developer Program, or have been explicitly authorized by management to participate in the development or testing of internal Apple applications as part of an official Apple project.
This letter to employees goes onto say that Apple Retail employees are forbidden from sharing the beta:
You may not load iOS beta software onto any other person’s iOS device. Employees are not authorized to receive iOS beta software from any third parties, even if those third parties are iOS Developer Program members.
Perhaps most important to the Apple customer experience, Apple has told employees that they are absolutely forbidden from demonstrating iOS 7 beta on their personal iPhone to customers. Apple management says that such demonstrations could confuse customers with the current iPhone with iOS 6 offerings. However, employees say that management praises discussions of iOS 7 that note the software an update coming to the iPhone 5 this fall, not a currently-shipping version. Employees are encouraged to point customers to Apple’s official iOS 7 website.
Apple Retail management and Human Resources, we’re told by a few employees, is being “super strict” about demonstrating iOS 7 to employees via an employee phone with iOS 7 beta. “We could get fired for showing a customer iOS 7 on our phones because of the Apple Developer NDA agreement,” one employee told us.
Unsurprisingly, Apple has also put in strict guidelines for Genius Bar employees to not service customer phones running iOS 7 beta. While Apple employees have not been officially given iOS 7 to test, employees have been told to install, experience, and become familiar with the upcoming release of OS X Mavericks. Both new Apple operating systems will launch this fall.