The first beta version of iOS 5 has only been out for about a week, but it’s already clear that no other pre-release version of iOS has ever seen a wider release than this one. It’s hard to pinpoint why this is the case, but there are clearly enough users who either paid $99 per year to become part of Apple’s developer program or who paid a rogue activation service a few dollars to get access to the beta that way. As iOS developer Malcom Barclay notes, this wide release has some interesting consequences for developers: some users are now leaving negative iTunes reviews for apps that don’t work on iOS 5 yet.
Theoretically, only developers currently have access to the latest version of Apple’s iOS 5 software for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. In reality, however, getting access to beta versions of iOS has never been easier for non-developers. Getting the software (which is easily available if you know how to use Google), is just one part of the process, though. Your phone’s UDID also has to be registered with Apple. The easiest way to do that is to get a $99 developer account, but for most people, that’s a lot of money just to try out some beta software. Because of this, a large market for rogue iOS activations that allows virtually anyone who is wiling to risk $5 to $10 is currently flourishing. Some of these services have been around for a while, though most started around the time of the lengthy iOS 4 beta test.