It’s now been three weeks since any Apple operating system was in public beta testing. It seems work has stopped on significant updates to iOS 15, macOS Monterey and the other OSs.
And that’s a good thing. Here’s why.
🎼 Let it go. Let it go. 🎶
In the past, Apple suffered from a focus problem. It never knew when to stop updating its operating systems so it could concentrate on the next major versions. Take iOS 14.7, which launched in mid-July of last year. That’s more than a month after Apple unveiled iOS 15 at its Worldwide Developers Conference, which meant the company’s coders were working on both at the same time.
That would be fine if iOS 15 had launched without bugs. But it did not. Apple had to rush out iOS 15.0.1 and iOS 15.0.2 to fix problems in the initial release. It was a severe enough issue that iPhone users installed the 2021 iOS upgrade at a slower rate than they had in years.
Let’s not single out iOS. macOS Big Sur 11.5 also came out in July 2021 and it brought some small UI tweaks. Apple was working on it when Cupertino also had macOS Monterey 12 in beta testing.
Again, this would nave been fine if the Monterey launch had gone smoothly … but it did not. Instead, Apple was forced to push back Universal Control, one of the signature features of macOS 12, by four months.
What a difference a year makes
There’s good evidence Apple learned from its mistakes of the past, and is focusing its efforts on iOS 16, macOS 13 and other future operating system upgrades.
iOS 15.4 debuted in mid-March, as did macOS Monterey 12.3, watchOS 8.5 and tvOS 15.4. Ordinarily, when Apple introduces new operating system versions, it quickly begins beta testing the next iteration. Not this time. As noted, it’s now been three full weeks since any Apple OS was in beta testing.
And we probably shouldn’t expect new betas anytime soon. iOS 15.5 supposedly won’t arrive until June at this year’s WWDC, according to a reliable source.
That’s a three-month gap between updates. And hopefully the same will hold true for macOS Monterey 12.4 and any incremental updates of Apple’s other operating systems.
Apple must concentrate on iOS 16, macOS 13, watchOS 9, etc.
If Apple holds to its long-held habits, it will unveil iOS 16, macOS 13, iPadOS 16 and the rest at WWDC in early June. Which means it’s hard at work coding all these now. That should be its first priority. Not tinkering with iOS 15, macOS 12, etc.
And it seems Apple learned from past mistakes. With no OSs in beta testing, and none expected for months, Apple may have very nearly shelved its 2021 operating systems. At the very least, it’s giving its OS development teams weeks or months to concentrate on the fall 2022 upgrades.
And the fact that Cupertino recently released bug-fix updates for iPhone, Mac, iPad, etc. doesn’t mean it’s already lost its focus. Instead, these patches are a symptom of the problem Apple is trying to rid itself of. If it can properly concentrate on each OS update, it won‘t have to rush out patches for every one.
True, if Apple already put nearly all its attention on the fall 2022 upgrades, that’ll mean there won’t be another significant iPhone, Mac or iPad update for many months. But that was probably already the case — the dribbles of updates released before WWDC and in the summer don’t usually bring big changes. They’re mostly distractions.
Free of such diversions, Apple hopefully could return to putting out clean, bug-free upgrades with iOS 16, macOS 13, watchOS 9, etc. This would be so welcome it might well overshadow any new features. And it’s possible — mostly what Apple needs to do is concentrate.