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How iOS 5 Beta Is Hurting The App Store

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Apple’s upcoming new software for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, iOS 5, is currently available in beta form for developers. In addition to devs, there are tons of other regular iDevice owners hoping on the iOS 5 beta train without understanding what a beta is and in the process hurting app reviews on the iTunes App Store.

iOS 5

Current iDevice owners can either pay to install the beta of iOS 5 or, if they’re willing to ignore some risks, get it for free. It appears that some people that have installed it this way have taken to the App Store to give applications poor reviews because they aren’t working with iOS 5 and at least one iPhone developer has chimed in with his thoughts on the situation.

Here is what Malcom Barclay had to say about the situation regarding the poor reviews of applications:

I can understand users are very eager to get their hands on the latest & greatest iOS shown off at WWDC. So they sign up for developer accounts for £59…with a few clicks, an alternative restore through iTunes, voilà, latest iOS is installed on your shinny iPhone. Problem is, this is beta software and there’s a very good reason it’s called beta software. It’s not finished.

Downloading & installing beta versions of iOS is akin to moving into a near-new house with missing windows, no carpet & some furnishing. In other words, it’s a building site. If you don’t understand this distinction, then you have no business installing it.

He also adds:

The review system is not for leaving bug or support related questions, for example, ‘How do I add a favourite?’.

With so many regular iDevice users downloading the software these days, it might be time for Apple to rethink its iOS beta policy or better yet, not allow users using beta versions of software to rate applications. While it’s probably not a big deal to regular old people, the ratings mean a lot to developers and Apple would be wise to appease them with some sort of safeguard against this. But Apple shouldn’t be the only one taking action.

What’s happening here is the direct result of companies misusing the term beta for years now. People used to associate the word “beta” with something that was in development or a product that was unfinished. However, as Barclay’s findings show, the average user now equates beta to a sneak preview or early access and until companies and devs stop throwing the word beta around, issues like this are going to continue to pop up.

Via: MacStories

13 Comments

  1. OldTimer

    06/13/2011 at 9:41 pm

    When I worked for Apple in the 70′s, alpha software meant software that would work for most purposes with some missing functions; beta software meant all functions were included and only the remaining bugs to be found and exterminated were left.  Sounds as if “beta” nowadays means what “alpha” used to mean, with the additional nuance that it is not supported.

  2. Alex

    06/13/2011 at 10:15 pm

    I think that those  reviews might be useful. Developers have (and have to) the chance to improve their apps before the official  IO5 arrives.

    • Adam Mills

      06/13/2011 at 10:42 pm

      Not only are the comments not worth while but they have no business being in reviews in the first place. Here is an example of one of them:

      http://mbarclay.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/NextBuses.png

      I’ve seen a bunch of comments just like this one on the App Store. It’s definitely not helping, at least not at this point.

      • honkj

        06/14/2011 at 5:29 pm

        that comment along with the rest has already been removed,  the ‘report a concern’ for a comment of an app works wonders on a beta tester who has violated his terms of use….

        this has been reduced to a none problem,  because those comments are being removed.

    • Ryan McLeod

      06/21/2011 at 6:14 am

      The point of developers having iOS 5 is so they can figure this out in their own testing, so the app will be working when the new OS hits the public.

  3. Nishanth

    06/14/2011 at 9:33 am

    Maybe in future Apple might invite some of the everyday users to install the Beta iOS on their devices, nothing like a real world testing scenario.

    • Kiddjoker800

      06/14/2011 at 3:00 pm

      the only problem is that if everday users are able to install the beta software and their phone becomes less fuctional due to it being a working product users will be more upset and blame apple or the phone company and not taking responsibilty for there actions of downloading a working product

      • Kiddjoker800

        06/14/2011 at 3:10 pm

        yeah I was in a hurry just proof read what I typed

      • Adam

        06/15/2011 at 9:05 pm

        Perhaps ignorant people do. But most people that go through the time trying to get betas know what their getting into.

      • Adam

        06/15/2011 at 9:05 pm

        Perhaps ignorant people do. But most people that go through the time trying to get betas know what their getting into.

  4. Chwarrior016

    06/14/2011 at 12:57 pm

    If ur on the iphone dev team, does the software work? as opposed to the free version

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