Apple provides iOS Public Beta Testing Program Due to Apple Maps

Ever wondered what led to a secretive company like Apple deciding on doing public beta releases of iOS and macOS? Well, the real reason is now what you think and more.

In a new Fast Company interview alongside CEO Tim Cook, Apple services chief Eddy Cue, who is in charge of Internet software and services, that touches upon a number of interesting topics, including competition, iPhone sales slowdown, why public iOS betas exist and more.

Tim Cook on CNBC’s Mad Money

The article suggests that even though the executives wouldn’t acknowledge it the company is now moving beyond Steve Jobs’s vision. “It’s a subtle, evolutionary change,” reads the article. “Cook is pushing Apple into a future that is bigger and broader than anything Jobs could effect during his too-short life,” writes the publication.

“I want Apple to be here, you know, forever,” Cook said.

We want to be there from when you wake up till when you decide to go to sleep. Our strategy is to help you in every part of your life that we can, whether you’re sitting in the living room, on your desktop, on your phone or in your car.

Tim Cook’s Apple isn’t resting on its laurels, says Cue:

Look, one thing you know if you’ve been in technology a while, you’re only as good as the last thing you did. No one wants an original iPod. No one wants an iPhone 3GS.

One other interesting anecdote in the wide-ranging interview: Apple Maps is the reason why iOS public beta testing exists.

Apple now does public beta testing of its most significant software projects, something that Jobs never liked to do. In 2014, the company asked users to test run its Yosemite upgrade to OS X. Last year, it introduced beta testing of iOS, which is the company’s most important operating system. “The reason you as a customer are going to be able to test iOS,” Cue says, “is because of Maps.”

Cue then offered an example of something he’d like to see implemented on Apple Maps:

Let’s say I’m at home doing email before work. I’d like Maps to tell me, ‘Don’t leave now. Your commute will be cut by 15 minutes if you stay home for a while.’

The failure of Apple Maps led to a huge internal rejig inside the company and its policies. It saw a veteran like Scott Forstall leaving the company after being a part of it for more than 15 years. The executive team inside Apple also had a discussion about the whole Apple Maps fiasco. They considered accepting Apple Maps as a mistake and treating it as a third-party app. In the end, they decided that Maps was an integral part of their platform and since many features were going to be dependent on it in the future, they did not want to put themselves in a position where they did not own it.

Tim Cook then also forced executives inside the company to have a closer look at their development teams and change how they work. The company eventually decided to open up a bit, which then ultimately led Apple to start a beta testing program.

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