An anonymous source tells us that Apple is now using retail employees to conduct testing of its latest software, including iOS 7, OS X Mavericks, and OS X Mountain Lion version 10.8.5.
The news corroborates rumors from a couple of months ago stating that Apple was rushing to put the finishing touches on its new mobile and desktop operating systems, for their WWDC debut.
Apple needs all the manpower it can get to roll out iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks this fall, and the seeding program has also been extended to OS X 10.8.5.
OS X Mountain Lion is also (still) in development at Apple. Beta testing of version 10.8.5 is already well underway, with build 12F17 handed to developers and retail staff just last week.
For build 12F17 Apple says there are “no known issues.”
The company politely asks all testers to focus their attention on core areas of the operating system, including Wi-Fi, Graphics, Wake from Sleep, PDF viewing and Accessibility, and Mobile Device Management (to spot any potential bugs).
The builds are reportedly seeded to retail store workers who are interested in helping with the testing, but there are also some ground rules that staffers must obey, such as not to flash iOS 7 around.
“The testing must occur in the staffer’s free time,” the source says. A key benefit of the testing effort is that employees will get to familiarize themselves with the software before its debut, our source adds.
Retail volunteers can access both the Mountain Lion and the Mavericks betas from Apple’s Mac Dev Center, while iOS 7 is accessible from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple also recently handed a WiFi update for MacBook Air customers via its AppleSeed program, to test a patch meant to alleviate wireless connection problems.
As of late, the Cupertino mammoth gives access to whole OS X betas to select customers.
According to our source, this represents “a clear willingness to extend testing to the general population, as Apple aims to fulfill demand for new features and/or fixes.”