In a nutshell: Apple is always busy working at least a year in advance on its operating systems. Feature development for iOS 18 and macOS 15 are well underway. At least, they were until now. Cupertino has halted work on features for its 2024 OS iterations due to several bugs that need attention.
Bloomberg correspondent and reliable leaker Mark Gurman spoke to multiple anonymous insiders who said Apple engineers have shifted focus from feature development to quality control. Bosses announced the delay in an internal memo last week. According to the sources, early versions of iOS/iPad 18 and macOS 15 are riddled with bugs.
Developers are to fix these and improve performance before continuing work on upcoming features. The insiders say that despite the workflow shift, all versions of device system software should still launch next fall as planned. However, that may mean some or all planned features might have to wait.
A similar problem in 2018 prompted engineering chief Craig Federighi to postpone several features meant for iOS 12. He considered the software too buggy and re-tasked engineers to clean up their code, pushing back features like Dark Mode, new photo editing tools, and other functionality to iOS 13.
NEW: Apple delayed work on next year’s software updates – iOS 18, watchOS 11, macOS 15 and more – to fix bugs across several upcoming features. https://t.co/hny5ycjW64
– Mark Gurman (@markgurman) November 7, 2023
For the 2019 development cycle, Federighi changed internal operations to make catching and working on bugs easier. The new method would mandate engineers enable features individually to isolate problems more quickly. He also implemented a policy not to allow “regressions.” This stipulation required developers to stop what they were doing and fix problems when changes broke the otherwise working software.
According to the sources, OS development this year hasn’t gone as well as it had since 2019. Recent audits revealed too many “escapes” (bugs missed during testing). So, department heads made the last-ditch decision to pull the plug until programmers can get the flaws under control.
“It’s a problem of 10,000 people typing code and completely breaking the operating system,” said one of the leakers.
Bloomberg contacted an Apple spokeswoman, but she declined to comment. Apple has a standing policy of not speaking about unofficially announced products or other speculation.
Of course, the fact remains that even with a feature delay, iOS and macOS will not launch bug-free. Such things never happen with any software developers these days. However, fixing the current bugginess should allow future patchwork to be more manageable and efficient.
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