Apple offers sneak peak at OS X via Beta Seed

Mavericks

Apple's new Beta Seed Programme gives free access to pre-release builds for all

Apple is offering users a sneak-peak at pre-release software via a new beta programme, but banning anyone from talking about the products being tested.

The OS X Beta Seed Programme will let users run pre-release software, helping to "provide quality and usability feedback that will help make OS X even better".

Anyone with an Apple ID can sign up to the programme immediately and will be provided with a Beta Access Utility for Mac. They can then access beta builds of OS X via the Mac App Store Updates panel, starting with the Mavericks 10.9.3 build, which was released yesterday.

Users are still subject to strict confidentiality terms, though.

On signing up to the Beta Seed Programme, would-be beta testers "agree that the Pre-Release Software and any information concerning the Pre-Release Software (including its nature and existence, features, functionality and screen shots), the Seeding Tools, and any other information disclosed by Apple to you in connection with the Seeding Programme will be considered... 'Confidential Information'."

The FAQ section is a little more detailed, stating that users must not "blog, post screen shots, tweet or … discuss the pre-release Apple software with or demonstrate it to others who are not in the OS X Beta Seed Programme".

Developers who have paid $99 to be part of Apple’s developer programme may feel a little put out by the news. While members of the Beta Seed Programme do get full access the pre-release software, developers haven’t spent their money for nothing.

Members of the new programme only get access to a lighter version of the Feedback Assistant, while detailed bug forms, full release notes and a discussion board are not included.

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