Apple has released the iOS 8.2 beta 3 download to developers, marking progress toward the finalized release date. What does that mean for consumers? First, the finished version is growing closer. Second, the beta version might well be reliable for installation already. And third, iOS 8.2 is tied to the launch of the Apple Watch, for better or worse. What exactly does that mean?
Apple’s iOS 8.3 beta 3 SDK states that it “now includes WatchKit, a framework for developing Apple Watch apps.” That means developers who normally make apps for devices like the iPhone and iPad can now get fully underway in their work on their upcoming apps for the Watch. It also means that iOS 8.2 and the Apple Watch release date will probably, but not quite certainly, happen simultaneously
The goal within Cupertino will be to launch the two products at the same time, as they’ve been specifically written to work with each other. iPhones will need the free iOS 8.2 update installed in order to work properly with the Apple Watch. If the smart watch comes within the next month or two, then it will all work out according to plan. But if there’s a delay in Watch development and it suddenly becomes a summer 2015 product instead of a spring product, Apple could deliver the 8.2 to consumers on its own and then re-target iOS 8.3 for the Apple Watch launch.
In the mean time, iOS 8.2 is still strictly intended for developers to do their testing on, as it’s not yet finished. But the arrival of the third beta download means that the majority of the bugs have already been squashed by now, so those adventurous consumers who want to get their hands on it early are probably in the clear to do so – although Apple might have a thing or two to say about the legality of that.