Although iOS 17 was released not so long ago and still receives regular bug fixes, the next version, iOS 18, is well underway and is already completing the first stage of development. Apple is now paying more and more attention to operating systems, because next year they will bear a lot of responsibility for the success of sales of new devices. That’s why the company is now taking atypical steps to improve quality.

In his weekly column in Bloomberg, Mark Gurman said that in late October, Apple’s head of software development Craig Federighi suspended the development of new features for all operating systems. The one-week pause was due to non-compliance with quality requirements and was used to correct errors.

Prior to the annual WWDC conference, operating system development goes through four major phases lasting six weeks each (four of which are dedicated to adding new functionality and two to fixing bugs). The first stage of development for iOS 18 and macOS 15 completed work on the main new features, but the developers still needed an additional week to improve the quality.

According to Mr. Gurman, the next generations of OSes will become more important than usual. Apple is currently trying to catch up with Google and OpenAI with generative AI functions. And since the iPhone 16 line is not expected to be something fundamentally new, such software should still add interest to the manufacturer’s new devices.

iOS 18 focuses on quality and generative AI – Gurman

And that is why so much attention is paid to the quality of operating systems. The last time Apple paused the development of new features was in 2019. Back then, quite serious problems could be found in the operation of brand-new smartphones, and before that, some features were delayed for a year.

The new pause, according to Mr. Gurman, will not lead to serious delays in development and will leave a little less time to fix the little things in the final stages. However, it shows that the company is now paying even more attention to the quality of software products, which cannot be a bad sign. 

In 2019, Federighi adopted a policy that his division calls The Pact: “We will never knowingly allow regressions in the build. And when we find them, we will fix them quickly.”

The last few versions of operating systems could hardly be called “breakthrough”. Yes, there were new features and certain improvements, but they still lacked something to really “big” updates. At present, company executives describe the new systems as “ambitious and compelling,” with really great new features and design, security and performance improvements.