Apple publicly started the clock on iOS 8 development today, begging the question of whether there will be an interim iOS 7.2 update for iPhone and iPad users in the mean time. Typically Apple uses x.x numbered releases to push out minor new features or revisions to the interface. But with the iOS 8 beta already in the hands of developers as of today, and the clock ticking down to the September-October timeframe in which iOS 8 must be finished so it can be included in the launch of the next iPhone, will Apple set enough to time do any further work on iOS 7 beyond bug fixes? And if iOS 7.2 does come to pass, when will it arrive?
Part of the answer may depend on how backward compatible Apple decides to make iOS 8. If it’s released for every retina-era device back to the iPhone 4 and iPad 3, then Apple has little motivation to do much touch-up work on iOS 7, as almost no one will be shut out of the iOS 8 era. But if Apple decides to more severely limit which devices can run iOS 8 – and these details can change as development goes on – then an interim iOS 7.2 update could serve to put older devices to bed in the form of one last feature update.
Even if iOS 7.2 is coming and is near ready, it’s unlikely Apple will release it within the next few weeks, as doing so could draw attention away from the press generated for iOS 8 by its big launch party at WWDC yesterday. But to that same end, Apple won’t want to release iOS 7.2 too close to the finalized commercial rollout of iOS 8 either. That means no later than August, if indeed Apple is even pursuing an iOS 7.2 release at this late stage of the game. However, bug fixes and security patches in the form of iOS 7.1.2 and beyond are far more likely.