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Apple Could Be Revising Its Approach To iOS, macOS Updates

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Apple has reportedly told its engineers to renew its approach to developing software updates for iOS and macOS. They no longer have to follow a strict schedule and can push back a feature if they feel it needs more work.  ( Elijah Nouvelage | AFP/Getty Images )

Apple might be pivoting its focus to stability as far as iOS and macOS updates are concerned. The Cupertino company is reportedly switching things up for this year's batch of major updates.

Instead of meeting tight deadlines and ticking checklists, development teams might have more say in how certain features that eventually make their way to the final build — or delay them entirely if more polishing is needed.

Apple Development Cycle Changes

Bloomberg reports that Apple will refrain from forcing engineers to follow a strict release schedule every year and instead focus on the next two years of updates for iPhones and iPads. To be clear, there will still be updates every year, but engineers will simply have more control over which ones they elect to get released or hold back if need be.

Software chief Craig Federighi made the announcement to Apple engineers a month ago, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter. Federighi's team will have more time to develop new features and work on under-the-hood improvements without being forced to follow a checklist of features so Apple could herald massive year-over-year leaps in terms of software.

"This change is Apple beginning to realize that schedules are not being hit, stuff is being released with bugs — which previously would not have happened," according to one person familiar with the company.

iOS, macOS Bugs

The change could lead to more polished software update and less bugs. iOS 11 hasn't been perfect so far, for starters, with customers having to contend with autocorrect bugs, messages arriving out of order, and the calculator app misbehaving. On the macOS front, things almost just as bad, if not worse: in November a "root access" bug was discovered, allowing anyone to log into a Mac in just a few simple steps.

The change is also somewhat of an admission and acknowledgement that some users have been complaining about the stability of iOS and macOS updates, as if they were released haphazardly or hastily.

No matter how one looks at it, the development shift is a major change for Apple, a company that has, in recent years, developed an attitude of sacrificing the polishedness of its software updates for hasty releases just so it could lay claim that it was the first company to offer certain features, making its rivals seem slow to catch on.

Thoughts on Apple's new approach to developing iOS and macOS updates? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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