As Apple seeds its most recent minor point update – iOS 10.3.2 Beta 3 – to registered developers, quite a lot of people are naturally asking about the possibility of an iOS 10.4. Will there be an iOS 10.4 or higher before it’s time for iOS 11 beta 1 to be seeded to developers ahead of launching the new iPhone 8 later this year?
First, let’s look at the timelines for iOS 10. After being showcased at the WWDC in June 2016, iOS 10 made its official appearance on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. During the months in between those two events, Apple seeded several beta versions of iOS 10 to developers and public testers (8 betas and a final GM build, to be precise), followed by three major updates: iOS 10.1, iOS 10.2 and the newly released iOS 10.3.
We’re in that final update right now, with two minor point releases – iOS 10.3.1 and iOS 10.3.2 beta – coming close on its heels.
Now, iOS has rarely gone beyond a version x.3, the only version even to do so being iOS 8.4, which was around for all of 78 days before iOS 9 was released alongside iPhone 6s in September 2015.
Based on those timelines, it is more likely that Apple may continue with the minor point releases as iOS 10.3.x, rather than move to iOS 10.4. This is based on the assumption that Apple will want to hold off any major features until iOS 11 is ready to make its beta debut, which is barely two months away if past timelines repeat themselves.
iPhone 8 being extremely crucial for Apple’s sales numbers in 2017, we’re fairly certain that they would want to reserve key features for the OS that will power it, namely iOS 11.
That being the case, the likelihood of an iOS 10.4 is small compared to the likelihood of the minor point updates continuing – if at all, an iOS 10.3.3 after iOS 10.3.2 goes public.
If that assumption is correct, there will be no iOS 10.4, but the version will jump directly to the next major update, iOS 11.
Moreover, the x.x updates have typically had longer lives than their respective parent updates. For example, iOS 6.0 was around for 131 days, but iOS 6.1 was around for 233 days; iOS 7.0 had 173 days, while iOS 7.1 was around for 191 days; iOS 9.0 did 35 days, iOS 9.1 did 48 days, iOS 9.2 did 104 and iOS 9.3 did 176 days in final.
iOS 10.3 is only about 23 days old, with iOS 10.3.1 coming a mere two days later. And, since iOS 10.3.2 is still in its third beta, we still have a few weeks to go before we see another update. Since Apple is heavily focused on patching vulnerabilities at this point, that’s yet another reason that an iOS 10.3.3 is far more likely than an iOS 10.4.
That said, these assumptions are based on the trends set by the iOS version history, as organized by ThinkyBits based on data from Wikipedia. By no means does it mean that Apple has ruled out an iOS 10.4. It may come, but we think that it’s not likely to.
With only two months left for iOS 11 to be unveiled, developers’ eyes around the world are focused on the new major update rather than concerned about bug fixes in minor point updates.
The only ones interested in these minor updates would be potential jailbreakers looking for any un-patched security vulnerabilities they can exploit to develop jailbreaks for iOS 10.3. But, so far, even that hasn’t been forthcoming. Apple is keeping things very tight this time around, so rather than new features, we’re likely to see more security patches ahead of the crucial iOS 11 that will be running inside the even more crucial iPhone 8.
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