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Apple releases iOS 13.1 beta before iOS 13 is even out

We’re just two weeks away from September 10th, the day Apple is likely to announce the iPhone 11 to the world — which means there isn’t much time to finish its iOS 13 operating system before launch. But what if Apple wasn’t actually planning to finish it by then, and will just admit that iOS 13 isn’t done? That might explain why today, the company released a beta for iOS 13.1.

It’s not a typo; Apple totally just released a beta of the iPhone’s operating system that’s one-tenth newer than the one you can safely load on an iPhone. Here’s the changelog as proof, which you can also peruse at your leisure. 9to5Mac is tracking the changes that actual users will notice, and so far there aren’t many.

Needless to say, this situation is highly unusual. But as developer Curtis Herbert points out, it might make a certain amount of sense. Apple hasn’t always managed to hit the promised dates for software features like AirPlay 2 and FaceTime group chats, and has had a number of embarrassing software bugs and feature-critical vulnerabilities it needed to patch over the past few years.

If Apple can stretch its development process and promises across the entirety of iOS 13, instead of having to hit iOS 13.0 specifically, it might take some of the pressure off, give the company more time to squish the bugs, and get more real users involved to spot them in the first place. But — I’m speculating wildly here — it might also mean that iOS 13.0 could be an even rougher ride than usual. (Chaim reminds me that iOS 11 was “a train wreck for the first few releases.”)

I’m also curious if this means AirPods Audio Sharing won’t be out at the iOS 13.0 launch. It’s listed as a feature of iOS 13.1 in the changelog, even though it already appeared in earlier iOS 13 betas.


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