Apple doesn’t typically launch major iterations to each release of its mobile operating system. iOS 7, for example received several updates leading up to the final version, iOS 7.1.2, but it didn’t receive several major updates. Instead, as 9to5Mac notes, Apple’s biggest release was the update from iOS 7 to iOS 7.1, a patch that introduced CarPlay and other features six months after the original was released. That’s going to change with iOS 8 this year, 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman said Monday.
Apparently Apple is already working on iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2 and iOS 8.3, each of which will serve either as a larger update to the platform or to provide new features. Gurman points to traffic coming into his site from Cupertino, which shows that Apple employees are already running the operating system updates on iPhones and, presumably, iPads. Unfortunately, we still don’t know what type of updates these patches will deliver.
The naming suggests these aren’t just minor patches, which would typically carry an iOS 8.1.x moniker. We wonder if it’s possible that one of the major updates will launch when Apple deploys the Apple Watch early next year, which will work directly with iOS devices. 9to5Mac suggests Apple may be preparing different versions, including one that will launch when Apple Pay is official and another for when Apple adds split-screen viewing on some iPads. One may also serve as the official operating system for Apple’s rumored 12.9-inch iPad, Gurman said.
We don’t know when Apple will launch each of the updates or if it’s part of a larger plan to change how it releases mobile operating systems. Apple Pay is expected in October, so we might see one launch then, while the Apple Watch isn’t scheduled to launch until some next year, perhaps not before February. Hopefully each rollout is much smoother than Apple’s iOS 8.0.1 launch last week.