Apple iOS 8.4 Developer Beta Is Released

Included in the latest developer beta for iOS is Apple's latest Music app that has an all new design and appearance.

Apple, iOS, developers, iOS 8.4 beta

Apple has unveiled its newest iOS 8.4 developer's beta version on its developer Website, as it distributes what will eventually become a future version of the always evolving iOS operating system.

The iOS 8.4 beta version was announced by Apple on April 13 and comes just a few weeks after the release of the iOS 8.3 beta version back on March 24.

One of the key changes in the latest iOS 8.4 developer's beta is an early preview of the all-new appearance and design for Apple's Music app, according to Apple's release notes for the new application. "With powerful features and an elegant new look, enjoying your music is easier than ever," the note explained. "This preview provides a sneak peek into what we've been working on, and what's to come—the music is just getting started."

The Music app includes a new design that makes it easier for users to explore their music collections, while also adding the ability to personalize playlists by adding images and descriptions, according to the release notes. The fledgling app also now includes albums and playlists that have been recently added to the top of a user's music library, and allow playback via a tap on the artwork for the music.

Also included is a streamlined iTunes Radio configuration that allows users to quickly return to their favorite stations in a Recently Played list. "Choose from a selection of hand-curated stations in Featured Stations, or start a new one from your favorite artist or song," the notes add.

A new MiniPlayer is also on tap so that users can see what is playing and so they can control playback while browsing their music collections. Users can tap on the MiniPlayer to open the Now Playing function.

An improved Now Playing function is also included, featuring a new design that showcases album artwork and new capabilities that allow users to begin to wirelessly stream their music using AirPlay without leaving Now Playing.

The Up Next function is also improved in iOS 8.4 beta by allowing users to more easily learn which songs will play next in their music libraries by tapping the Up Next icon in Now Playing. Users can also reorder, add or skip songs whenever they desire in the latest version.

Global search capabilities within the Music app are also now available by tapping the magnifying glass in the app to begin a search.

The latest beta iOS version follows other changes that Apple implemented for developers back in March, when it expanded its iOS 8 beta software update program to more users to allow more eyeballs to see and review the code, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The program expansion is aimed at helping the company continue to build better code through additional input on the code.

Under its new plan, Apple will allow participating iOS users to join up as a software tester and try out beta iOS updates before they become part of public code releases. To join the beta-testing program, users can apply as a software tester at the Apple Seed Website, where if they are selected, they will gain access to beta code for review.

Apple's iOS development program hit a bit of a rough patch in September 2014 when an iOS 8.01 update was released and then quickly pulled back after it was determined that the update caused major problems for some iPhone 6 users who were left unable to make phone calls after they installed it. A new iOS 8.02 update was then made available some 36 hours later to correct the iPhone 6 calling problems, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Apple apologized profusely to users for the glitch. The original iOS 8.0.1 update also disabled the Touch ID functions on new iPhone 6 devices, making life difficult for their owners.

The swift action by Apple to get a working update out to replace the flawed code was impressive at the time, but the release of the flawed code in the first place had many critics online discussing how such a glitch would never have occurred under the leadership of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Before the fresh iOS 8.0.2 code was unveiled, Apple even provided a workaround so that affected users could take several manual steps to undo the errant update's effects. Users whose phones were disabled were advised to reinstall iOS 8 through iTunes until a working update was released.