When you consider possible release dates for new Apple products, it’s easy — and perhaps lazy — to just consider the past. A new Intel chip family arrives and within weeks there will be new Macs, most of the time. This year, by the way, Intel’s new chip family will be late, so Apple so far has made do with slightly faster venisons of current processors.
To keep recent trends, the iPhone is expected to arrive in September. Since it was September last year, there’s already a published report that Apple’s media event for the iPhone 6 will be held on Tuesday, September 9. Other than the fact that that’s my birthday — a matter clearly of no interest to Apple — it’s totally consistent with last year’s release timeframe. If there are to be two versions, the rumored 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models, the rumors have it that there are production problems that may delay the release of the latter by weeks or months. But don’t count Apple out, even if supplies of the alleged iPhone phablet are constrained for a few months.
Besides, why believe rumors anyway?
The release of iOS 8 will likely, as usual, coincide with the release of the next iPhone. New versions of OS X don’t necessarily coincide with the arrival of new Macs, but it is widely expected that Yosemite will arrive in late October. Why? Because Mavericks arrived in late October, so that would be keeping with the trend, except that its predecessor, Mountain Lion, was released on July 25, 2012. So much for trends.
Now there is a key reason why it makes sense to get iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite out the door at the same time, and that’s Continuity, which ties the two platforms closely together. If iOS 8 arrives first, a key feature of the two won’t be usable for weeks, and that might not only disappoint iPhone and iPad users who also have Macs, but would work against Apple’s marketing plan.
But it’s not just wanting to release them simultaneously. It’s a question of the development process and how long it takes to get out a reasonably stable release. With Yosemite, Apple is being helped by the fact that up to one million Mac users are now running a beta version, and thus bug reports will arrive thick and fast. That will help ensure a more stable release, to be sure, but will it help Apple’s OS X engineering team to get their work done faster?
So far, the iOS 8 and Yosemite betas have come almost simultaneously, arriving on the same day, with predictable updates usually coming every two weeks. The list of known bugs and incomplete features is shrinking fast. While developer response to iOS 8 indicates shaky releases, Yosemite seems to be settling down.
The latest developer release appears to be getting high marks. My experience has allowed me to actually run all of my most-used productivity apps without any problems. It’s an experiment, but I’m recording and editing my radio shows this week with Yosemite. So far, it seems to be working perfectly. The apps that I use, Amadeus Pro, Audio Hijack Pro, Sound Studio and Skype all run reliably; I’m using the very latest versions of course. I was able to upload the iTunes feed for the two shows with Feeder without incident, and ID3 Editor, which I use to annotate the MP3 podcast files for the shows, also works normally. I was able to successfully upload the show files with Transmit. Both Pages and Word appear compatible, though I haven’t tested all functions of these two word processors.
Obviously, there are loads of apps that may not even be partly compatible with Yosemite. But that’s up to the developers to fix. The key is whether Apple can complete OS 10.10 development by late August or early September to guarantee a late September release on the same day as iOS 8.
Assuming a September 9th launch, the iPhone 6 should officially go on sale Friday, September 19, in keeping with previous schedules. iOS 8 should be posted for download Wednesday of that week.
But what about Yosemite?
I have a feeling that it is possible for Apple to do a simultaneous release, assuming the server farms are up to the task of delivering two major OS upgrades on the same day. That may be the biggest question mark of all, though I suppose staggering the releases by a few days would minimize the problem.
Some of the people I’ve talked to about this suggest that Apple would tolerate a month of Continuity incompatibility, but that wouldn’t make much sense from a marketing point of view. The feature is just too important.
Now before you assume the Night Owl is off-base, I should remind you that I predicted last year, correctly, that Mavericks would be a free upgrade. Some were skeptical, but I stuck to my guns. I may be wrong this time, but I think Apple will try to get iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite out the same day, or within days of each other.