Why doesn't Apple release their Beta to the general public?

Mad Mac Maniac

macrumors 601
Original poster
Microsoft (at least for win7 and win8) releases their beta's for free to anyone who wants to download it.

I can think of two main reaons and possibly a 3rd for beta's to exist.
1) For developers to test their apps in the new OS
2) To be guinea pigs to allow for sufficent bug testing
And the possible 3) to get advanced feedback/suggestions regarding any changes

Reasons 2 and 3 would be further helped further by the more and more people who use it.

I'm sure some of you will respond something along the lines of "The last thing we need is the general public complaining about how buggy it is or screwing up their computer etc etc" But I think that if someone takes the effort to go to Apple.com and download this clearly marked "BETA" operating system they are sufficiently geeky enough and/or know well enough that it is a beta system and to expect many problems. If it screws anything up I'm sure it's a pretty simply process to remove the Beta (and redownload if you wish).

I'm assuming to download ML you partition your hard drive (a la boot camp) and then you can dual boot into which ever OS you want?
 

heisenberg123

macrumors 603
Oct 31, 2010
6,498
9
Hamilton, Ontario
Microsoft (at least for win7 and win8) releases their beta's for free to anyone who wants to download it.

I can think of two main reaons and possibly a 3rd for beta's to exist.
1) For developers to test their apps in the new OS
2) To be guinea pigs to allow for sufficent bug testing
And the possible 3) to get advanced feedback/suggestions regarding any changes

Reasons 2 and 3 would be further helped further by the more and more people who use it.

I'm sure some of you will respond something along the lines of "The last thing we need is the general public complaining about how buggy it is or screwing up their computer etc etc" But I think that if someone takes the effort to go to Apple.com and download this clearly marked "BETA" operating system they are sufficiently geeky enough and/or know well enough that it is a beta system and to expect many problems. If it screws anything up I'm sure it's a pretty simply process to remove the Beta (and redownload if you wish).
I'm assuming to download ML you partition your hard drive (a la boot camp) and then you can dual boot into which ever OS you want?
this is were you not correct, non geeks also think they need that newest OS
 
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Mad Mac Maniac

macrumors 601
Original poster
this is were you not correct, non geeks also think they need that newest OS
Really? Do non geeks even know what Mountain Lion is? If it were released through the MAS or through software update that would be one thing. But for a person to actually go seek it out they would at least need to be knowledgable enough to realize to expect a buggy experience. Apple could even give a warning before you download. Microsoft has been doing it and the sky isn't falling.

Microsoft like to get input from the "average user" to find out what to use.

Apple likes to let the "average user" know what they use.
touche. That is possibly why "reason 3" wouldn't really be a heavily used argument for Apple, but surely they wouldn't mind extra bug catchers. It would probably help speed up the release cycle.

Also, I know it doesn't seem like it at times, but Apple does listen to the consumer some of the time. Sure sometimes Apple thinks they know best, but if we convey a convincing argument it could help. We are getting the option to degroup apps in mission control after all!
 
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Peace

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Apr 1, 2005
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The iOS developer program is only $99 whereas the MSDN is around $399

With either one you can submit bugs that will get the attention of engineers.
 
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MikhailT

macrumors 601
Nov 12, 2007
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965
1. All developers registered through the Apple Developer program already get betas or seeds of the new OS.

2. Apple internally test the seeds with their own staff at their campuses (tens of thousands) and plus the developers, they already have enough for their own needs.

3. Apple do provide seeds to certain set of the general public through their AppleSeed Program. Usually for people who are experiencing software or hardware issues that won't be fixed until the new OS is released. They're probably also contact people who provided previous feedback about certain changes.

MS needs the open beta program because they have to encounter all sorts of hardware configurations whereas Apple already knows all the possible combinations.

There is no need for Apple to provide an open beta program. What they need to do is overhaul their bug reporting system because they're rather inefficient and irritates all developers who might be less tempted to provide more bug reports.
 
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heisenberg123

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Oct 31, 2010
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Hamilton, Ontario
Really? Do non geeks even know what Mountain Lion is? If it were released through the MAS or through software update that would be one thing. But for a person to actually go seek it out they would at least need to be knowledgable enough to realize to expect a buggy experience. Apple could even give a warning before you download. Microsoft has been doing it and the sky isn't falling.

just go read some of the posts on 10.8 threads


example #1

if i download ML DP how do i downgrade

example # 2

is it safe to use as a primary OS

those are real examples by the way not be trying to prove my point with fiction
 
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Peace

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just go read some of the posts on 10.8 threads


example #1

if i download ML DP how do i downgrade

example # 2

is it safe to use as a primary OS

those are real examples by the way not be trying to prove my point with fiction
In all fairness to those type of posts had Apple released betas in the wild for 10 years like MS does those kind of questions probably wouldn't be asked.
 
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PlaceofDis

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Jan 6, 2004
19,239
4
they don't do a public release because it is just too much hassle. Apple assumes that if you're a Dev that you know what you're getting into and are capable of handling any issues that might arise with a Beta OS, such as creating a partition for it and how to downgrade and have reliable backups. the general public, even so-called geeks on this forum will certainly have issues and then not only does Apple have to deal with such problems from a PR standpoint but also in the form of support.

i think MS does the public betas for a few reasons that work in their favor: to gain a 'good' feeling from the general public, to get more bug reports, and to get people excited about the release. Apple, on the other hand, gets people to upgrade much more easily than MS so they don't have to worry about the first and last items so its just not worth the inevitable hassle that comes along with it.
 
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AustinIllini

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Oct 20, 2011
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In all fairness to those type of posts had Apple released betas in the wild for 10 years like MS does those kind of questions probably wouldn't be asked.
They most certainly would. Why would Apple release betas to the public? They did that with Siri, and I would argue more than expected are unhappy with it. Release the OS when it's ready, the last thing I want is a computer with a primary OS as an unstable one (see also Windows ME, Windows Vista, etc.)
 
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AppleDApp

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Jun 21, 2011
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Really? Do non geeks even know what Mountain Lion is?
Non geeks probably do know what Mountain Lion is as mainstream media has written articles about it. Press release Hufftington Post and the WSJ I couldn't find the original link. So the General public was informed about it. Do they care? probably not so much. Same idea on the Windows side. Microsoft announces a new OS, Mainstream media talks about it. A week later,all is forgotten.

Edit As an added note, Apple does release Beta software to the general public. Siri, messages (iChats replacement. will be released in Mountain Lion.) and Safari 5.2 are all beta software.
 
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Mad Mac Maniac

macrumors 601
Original poster
Siri is in beta. Does that stop people from complaining about that?
Wow are you really comparing the two? Siri is a feature that is not only forced on every iPhone 4S sold, but is hugely advertised. Apple said the word "beta" so they would have a defense when people complained (because apple knew there would be issues). They certainly havn't been treating it as any beta product. I'm sure the average person doesn't know.

What I am suggesting would require the user to seek out the ML beta, probably get a warning and explination on how to partition, install, and remove the partition if needed, then the user would have to download a known, buggy, betta.

Non geeks probably do know what Mountain Lion is as mainstream media has written articles about it. Press release Hufftington Post and the WSJ I couldn't find the original link. So the General public was informed about it. Do they care? probably not so much. Same idea on the Windows side. Microsoft announces a new OS, Mainstream media talks about it. A week later,all is forgotten.
Just because a few mainstream media outlets have released a single article about ML doesn't mean the average person knows what it is... even if they had read the article they wouldn't even think to go try to download it. The articles clearly mention it won't be released till late summer.

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Edit As an added note, Apple does release Beta software to the general public. Siri, messages (iChats replacement. will be released in Mountain Lion.) and Safari 5.2 are all beta software.
You are only reinforcing my question then. I'm referring specifically to OS X. (Siri is clearly an abiration so I'll ignore that) If Messages and Safari (and I remember facetime was also, probably more) can be available to the public as a beta why not OS X?
 
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AppleDApp

macrumors 68020
Jun 21, 2011
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Just because a few mainstream media outlets have released a single article about ML doesn't mean the average person knows what it is... even if they had read the article they wouldn't even think to go try to download it. The articles clearly mention it won't be released till late summer.

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You are only reinforcing my question then. I'm referring specifically to OS X. (Siri is clearly an abiration so I'll ignore that) If Messages and Safari (and I remember facetime was also, probably more) can be available to the public as a beta why not OS X?
Offering an OS as a beta software for the GP is just a big headache. The article does mention that ML will be available in the summer. If the article said that ML was available for a Beta release, do you think the GP would go and download it?
 
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heisenberg123

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Oct 31, 2010
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Hamilton, Ontario
Wow are you really comparing the two? Siri is a feature that is not only forced on every iPhone 4S sold, but is hugely advertised. Apple said the word "beta" so they would have a defense when people complained (because apple knew there would be issues). They certainly havn't been treating it as any beta product. I'm sure the average person doesn't know.

What I am suggesting would require the user to seek out the ML beta, probably get a warning and explination on how to partition, install, and remove the partition if needed, then the user would have to download a known, buggy, betta.



Just because a few mainstream media outlets have released a single article about ML doesn't mean the average person knows what it is... even if they had read the article they wouldn't even think to go try to download it. The articles clearly mention it won't be released till late summer.

----------



You are only reinforcing my question then. I'm referring specifically to OS X. (Siri is clearly an abiration so I'll ignore that) If Messages and Safari (and I remember facetime was also, probably more) can be available to the public as a beta why not OS X?
apple.com had the preview of ML the non geeks go to apple.com believe it or not and if a free beta was available you darn right non geeks would be clicking away
 
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Blipp

macrumors 6502
Mar 14, 2011
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0
Really? Do non geeks even know what Mountain Lion is? If it were released through the MAS or through software update that would be one thing. But for a person to actually go seek it out they would at least need to be knowledgable enough to realize to expect a buggy experience. Apple could even give a warning before you download. Microsoft has been doing it and the sky isn't falling.
Have you been following these forums much? Every single day there seems to be someone panicking because they need to downgrade back to Lion and don't know what they're doing with ML or a beta OS in general. It's unfortunate but it's true.

People love to think they're special because they have access to betas but then they complain and complain like they're using paid software. They make forum posts and, even worse, one star app reviews saying things like "Random app X doesn't work in Mountain Lion so it's a piece of junk. DO NOT BUY!".

Apple makes it pretty easy to get into the developer license for those who need to be and I've heard they will invite some non-developer users into the betas as well. A developer is much more likely to provide useful feedback on beta errors and tweaks than the average user. I think their current system is fine as long as they leave the OS in the beta oven long enough for it to bake before serving it to the general public.
 
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Mad Mac Maniac

macrumors 601
Original poster
Have you been following these forums much? Every single day there seems to be someone panicking because they need to downgrade back to Lion and don't know what they're doing with ML or a beta OS in general. It's unfortunate but it's true.
Well I'm not a dev so I don't hang out here too much, and certainly am not interested in any of the threads you are talking about. I would just ignore.

I think a lot of the issues you discuss would be fixed (they would need to be) if Apple decided to make the beta's more publicly available. First they would add sufficent beta warnings and documentation explaining how to easily install and uninstall the beta. Secondly they would need to deactivate rating from beta software. I seem to remember they had that issue with iOS 5 and I believe they eventually disabled it?

And remember, just because it's available doesn't mean everyone will download it. I wish I had the percentage numbers of how many people download Windows betas. I think the people that are more likely to download a beta are more likely be power users that can help test bugs etc.
 
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heisenberg123

macrumors 603
Oct 31, 2010
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Hamilton, Ontario
Well I'm not a dev so I don't hang out here too much, and certainly am not interested in any of the threads you are talking about. I would just ignore.

I think a lot of the issues you discuss would be fixed (they would need to be) if Apple decided to make the beta's more publicly available. First they would add sufficent beta warnings and documentation explaining how to easily install and uninstall the beta. Secondly they would need to deactivate rating from beta software. I seem to remember they had that issue with iOS 5 and I believe they eventually disabled it?

And remember, just because it's available doesn't mean everyone will download it. I wish I had the percentage numbers of how many people download Windows betas. I think the people that are more likely to download a beta are more likely be power users that can help test bugs etc.

is this really about $99?

i bet my left nut that anyone that really needs the beta has a dev account heck ill bet the other nut some have a dev account just for fun and have never developed a thing
 
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Mad Mac Maniac

macrumors 601
Original poster
is this really about $99?

i bet my left nut that anyone that really needs the beta has a dev account heck ill bet the other nut some have a dev account just for fun and have never developed a thing
Well sure anyone could pay for a dev account, but I can't rationalize paying $99 to get an OS a few months early.. An OS that will at MOST cost $29 (possibly free).

I don't need it for any reason but I would definitely enjoy messing around with it and looking for bugs etc.

But I guess it'll never be. It's not that big a deal. Perhaps it's for the best. I just get anxious wanting to see the new OS. haha
 
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Burton8219

macrumors 6502
May 12, 2007
437
15
The main reason that there's no public betas for OS X and many other things is the same answer that's been said in here and in many other places... Lack of knowledge of beta procedures/protocols. Why on earth would Apple give beta copies of OS X to people who when they report bugs can't tell them anything other than their computer froze when using X application? You think the average joe would catch something that a person who is familiar with programming and developing programs for OS X wouldn't?

Also the main reason for this program is so people can develop applications or update their application to work with said OS... why have people who have no intention of doing so install pre-release software? Actively seeking out the software doesn't mean you know anything about the process.

Last thing: In essence the betas are available to the public... for a fee. Pay 99 bucks for the year and you can play around with pre-release software all you want, but when you boil it down why would a casual user want to use software that hasn't been put through all the paces anyway? Seems rather stupid to me and like what was said before it looks like people just want to have the hot thing at the moment.
 
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throAU

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Feb 13, 2012
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A: because they don't want to deal with calls from curious mac users who run the beta in production when they really shouldn't.


If you pay your $99 developer subscription, at least they've recovered some of the time/money required to support it - the 99 bucks gives you a couple of support incidents in addition to a code signing certificate.

But I think that if someone takes the effort to go to Apple.com and download this clearly marked "BETA" operating system they are sufficiently geeky enough and/or know well enough that it is a beta system and to expect many problems. If it screws anything up I'm sure it's a pretty simply process to remove the Beta (and redownload if you wish).
A lot of people think they are more technically competent than they are in reality. A lot of people also think "she'll be right!" running beta code in production because their friend had no issue. A lot of people also do not have adequate backups to recover from failure.

Yes, the current ML beta is pretty solid. However this may not always be the case with beta software, and the last thing apple needs is a bunch of apple zealots dealing with major fallout because a beta pre-release OS took a dump on their machine.


edit:
Siri is a beta that is out there because it is 99% server based and won't trash your phone. Beta versions of OS X may include driver updates, major API changes that will break your applications, etc.
 
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pdjudd

macrumors 601
Jun 19, 2007
4,041
65
Plymouth, MN
Not to mention that the kink of data that Apple needs to test Siri is something that cannot be tested in a small group. Apple’s biggest concern with OSX is to make sure it runs in a stable manner on it’s hardware platforms and that the software works.

Siri needs tons of different data types given the various inputs that it receives down to the sex of the speaker, speech type, language, accents, and all of the nuances not to mention the possibility of requests that are going to get made. That sort of thing needs a large body of users to refine. Apple can’t just do that in house - no way anybody can just do that in house.
 
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Billywiz1307

macrumors member
Jul 7, 2009
45
0
Knutsford, UK
Surely running a Beta is not just about finding and reporting bugs.

If Beta testers were involved in the release of Lion, why on earth didn't even the dimmest wit of a beta tester spot and report that everything had gone grey, from Finder sidebar icons to those in iTunes etc etc. And if Apple still wanted their "control freak way", why not make those changes an option.
 
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