Apple has announced major changes to their Mac OS X beta software program, allowing non-developers to sign up for new pre-release software releases. This is a major shift in strategy for Apple, who had previously required a developer account to trial unreleased software. This should be a further blow to what’s left of Apple’s software NDA, at least as it applies to their desktop software.
Users interested in taking part in testing beta software are encouraged to join the OS X Beta Seed Program. For now, this is limited to Mac OS X Mavericks. Apple is likely going to announce a major release at WWDC. Based on the description at Apple’s website, the beta seed program extends to future releases as well.
Having access to the latest beta releases enables you to check out all of the new features, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Beta releases can result in software instability and introduce conflicts with apps that had been working. If you are making regular backups and don’t mind the risk, this is a great opportunity to check out the latest and greatest from Apple.
You can find more information at Apple’s Beta Seed Program, including sign-up information. For now, Apple’s iOS beta remains the same, requiring a $99 developer fee for access. Though intended strictly for developers, it’s used widely by iPhone and iPad owners who enjoy bleeding edge software. That should continue with iOS 8 beta, which could hit in early June.