Unlike in previous years when Apple launched a single major iOS update for that year’s iOS version, the company is apparently simultaneously working on no less than three such updates for iOS 8, including iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2 and iOS 8.3, according to 9to5Mac’s findings.
It’s not clear why Apple might be doing this, or what new features should be expected in these upcoming iOS 8 updates. At least one update should enable certain iOS 8 features that aren’t available to users at this time, including Apple Pay and the SMS continuity feature – these particular features will likely arrive in an October update.
Similarly, a future update could add Apple Watch support in early 2015 when the wearable device will be launched, so that iPhones and Watches can work together. A significant upgrade for Apple Maps, which was rumored for iOS 8, might also be released in one of these 8.x updates.
One of the updates could also be specific for the rumored 12.9-inch iPad Pro that will reportedly arrive next year, a fork that could bring some additional features to the bigger tablet such as iPad split-screen mode.
However, this is all speculation at this time. It’s not known why Apple is already working on all these updates, and whether they mean anything in relationship with Apple’s 2015 main iOS release (which should be iOS 9).
What’s certain is that iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2 and iOS 8.3 have all been sighted in Google Analytics by both 9to5Mac and the developer of a “major hardware-connected iOS application.” The first major iOS 8.x update should arrive in October, once Apple Pay and Yosemite is ready to be rolled out.