iOS 7 Beta 3 was released on Monday, and has been getting great reviews from critics and users alike. The features have been minuscule, but important — especially the changes made to the font. Here's what we wrote earlier when we discussed the top features in iOS 7 Beta 3:
Business Insider notes that Apple (and SVP Jony Ive)'s decision to switch the font in iOS 7 to Helvetica Neue Light wasn't really well-received. Multiple designers complained about the design shift...The reasoning behind the criticisms is that, while the new font looked cool, it was still pretty hard to read, even with Apple's Retina screen. But, switching to the easier-to-read Helvetica Neue will be an improvement, and a lot of people are really excited. It also represents Apple's willingness to work with customer complains.
While the official iOS 7 release is still months away — at WWDC 2013, Apple exec's said it should come sometime "in the fall of 2013" — what if you were the average fan and interested in downloading iOS 7 for your own device?
Well first you need to understand the concept of a Beta program. Here's what we wrote about Apple's history with Beta programs earlier:
In this brilliant article from Cult of Mac, Mike Elgan notes that Siri has had the "beta" tag attached to it since it came out in September 2011, along with the iPhone 4S. And, even though Siri is a beta and Apple doesn't allow beta programs into the App Store (developers use a public beta system — where you can only sign up or get invited to the app), Apple has used a beta program (Siri) and generated millions (probably billions) and spent millions in marketing an unfinished app. But, in a suit against Apple where a customer said that Apple falsely advertised Siri, they said that, essentially, it wasn't false advertising because Siri is still being developed.
So, since iOS 7 is still in Beta, Apple won't really care about what happens to your device, since you downloaded willingly.
But, if you still want it, you basically have two options: download it through torrents, which can be considered illegal (depending on where you live) or purchase a $99 Apple Developer's License through the Developer's program. Here's why the Apple Developer's License method is better than getting it for free.
While you save a hundred bucks but downloading it illegally through torrents, there are tons of dangers as well. Malicious torrentors could install a program within the Beta file that could let them hack into your private contents — images, texts, phone calls, metadata, and app data too (like your credit cards). Basically, instead of the NSA spending time and resources to hack your device, you're inviting them to tea and biscuits.
Bricking Your Device
Then there's the fact that it may brick your device. "Bricking" means that your phone is completely unusable — no amount of tech magic that the guys at the Genius Bar can save it. While the worst that usually happens is nothing close to that, the possibility of purchasing a brand new iPhone (starting price: $649 for the 16 GB model) because you bricked it is horrifying.
Apple's Developer Program Has Other Benefits
Here's an added benefit to the Apple's Developer Program: You can download OS X Mavericks for free as well. Also, in addition, you can get early access to beta updates to existing software updates. So, for instance, if iOS 7 is released and has a broken feature, you can get the fix before everyone else. Apple's Developer License could be worth it for someone who loves being in-the-know and is a huge Apple fan.