An interesting story today from Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac. Sources are telling him that Apple is looking to expand testing of iOS 7 beyond developers. Apple is reportedly holding on-campus sessions to gain valuable feedback from users on the new design and user interface changes. This select group is within the Cupertino area, likely family members of Apple employees. With the polarizing changes in iOS 7, this feedback is critical to polishing the product before the fall release. Developers are great for reporting bugs, but as I’ve mentioned before, iOS 7 is built for users. Their feedback should be invaluable to Apple as they fine tune what is a major departure from iOS 6.
If you happen to be one of the lucky few chosen, I’d imagine it would be difficult to be impartial. For one, it must be an incredible experience to visit Apple’s headquarters as a guest. If the report about these folks being family members, they might be reluctant to say anything too bad about a product, for fear it would adversely affect their relative. I say this with no disrespect to those chosen, but perhaps there is a better methodology for testing that might yield more critical, unbiased feedback.
It’s good to hear that Apple is looking outside for opinions. They should steer clear of bloggers and instead, focus on what’s happening with users who have gained early access to iOS 7. While the release is intended for developers, I’d wager that the percentage of non-developers running iOS 7 is pretty high. Scour the Internet and you’ll find a good cross section of opinions on iOS 7.
Apple has said that iOS 7 will be available sometime this fall. The extensive changes should undoubtedly require a lengthy beta process.
On the desktop side, Apple is now offering the next generation release of Mac OS X for testing to Genius Bar and retail employees.