While the first version of iOS 7 will arrive for end-users next week, Apple is already well into testing for iterative updates to the revamped operating system. According to web analytics for 9to5Mac, Apple employees seem to already be testing iOS 7.0.1, iOS 7.0.2, and iOS 7.1. While we cannot absolutely confirm that these tests are occurring inside Apple, it seems likely based on the cities in which these operating systems are being tested. Apple’s headquarters is in Cupertino, California, and we are seeing these views from these unreleased operating systems from both Cupertino and surrounding areas.
Based on Apple’s past release history, iOS 7.0.1 and iOS 7.0.2 are designed as successive bug fix updates, while iOS 7.1 could bring either new functionality or support for new hardware. Apple typically releases bug fixes updates within a few weeks following a major iOS launch, so it is somewhat unsurprising to see Apple employees already testing the new versions. Based on Apple preparing new models of iPad hardware for the later this fall, perhaps the iOS 7.1 update is designed to launch on that new hardware. We previously reported that the new iPads will run a successive update to iOS 7.0. Perhaps backing this up is that all signs of iOS 7.1 testing in our analytics have been conducted on iPads.
iPad Air 2
While these three updates to iOS 7 are already in testing, we previously noted that Apple is already working on versions of iOS 7 that integrate the previously announced iOS-in-the-Car functionality. We have also reported that Apple began aggressively shifting its iOS engineering resources onto iOS 8. We understand that iOS 8 will focus on major enhancements to Apple’s maps app with indoor mapping, public transit directions, and enhancements that tie into the new iPhone M7 motion co-processor being on the roadmap.
iOS 7 officially launches on Wednesday, September 18th with all new icons, redesigned app interfaces, iTunes Radio, Control Center, Notification Center enhancements, new Siri voices, and more. The new operating system will be pre-loaded on the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, which launch concurrently on Friday, September 20th.
Information from our analytics has previously pinpointed an uptake in testing for iOS 7.0 and OS X 10.9, but it is difficult to tell precise release information based on this data. However, the analytics do provide insight into what Apple exactly is testing, when they are conducting the testing, and how widespread testing becomes overtime.