iOS 10.2: Apple gets it right, finally

It's taken Apple three months, but iOS 10.2 now brings back the performance and stability that iOS 10 previously took away.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Sarah Tew/CNET

iOS 10 was, by the standards of performance and stability that I expect from an Apple release, pretty rubbish. And the four updates that Apple pushed out in October didn't really bring back what I'd lost in the upgrade from iOS 9.

But finally, iOS 10.2 seems to bring the performance and stability that Apple users both expect and deserve.

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iOS 10.2 has been a long time coming, going through seven beta releases over many weeks to get it right. And while the earlier betas were shaky, the last few not only have been close to rock-solid, but there has been a noticeable and much-welcomed performance boost.

While 10.2 is undoubtedly welcome, it does raise some questions about quality standards at Apple. iOS 10 went through an extensive beta program -- both by developers and the public -- and despite the fact that Apple has almost total control over the hardware and software ecosystem, it still took the company an additional three months to deliver what feels like a fully usable operating system.

Taking a quarter of the lifecycle of the operating system just to get to a point of reliability suggests that Apple is having a tough time keeping up with the pace of yearly releases.

It also suggests that Apple is locking down an iOS release in advance of an iPhone release knowing full well that it's buggy, taking a "ship now, fix later" approach.

That works for Apple, but it's a far from ideal for consumers.

But Apple isn't sitting still, and already has a beta out for 10.2.1. Don't ask me what's new here, because I don't know and Apple isn't saying. I presume it's either a minor bugfix for something small, or perhaps a possible fix for the iPhone 6s random shutdown problem.

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