iOS 7 (App Store teaser 002)

We’ve suspected for some time Apple will be holding its big iPhone event on September 10, with sources claiming a Gold Master iOS 7 build for developers will get released that same day. That’s Apple’s standard modus operandi as past Gold Master (GM) builds were seeded to the company’s registered developers either at WWDC or at iPhone press conferences.

Alleged email communication Siri partner Nuance sent to devs now indicates iOS 7 GA will also be released the same day, on September 10. GA? GM?

There are some caveats here…

The Next Web contributing writer Owen Williams posted the below email from Nuance to his personal blog, it reads:

As you are probably aware, iOS 7 GA will be released on September 10th.

The NDEV Program has pre-qualified that SpeechKit 1.4.5 works properly on iOS 7, but we encourage you to conduct own testing to ensure that when the upgrade happens, your Nuance speech services continue to work seamlessly.

First and foremost, I’m having a really hard time believing a Nuance email message would leak just like that. This is a company behind the Siri voice and an important Apple partner so surely they should know better than that.

With that off of my chest, what exactly is the difference between GM and GA?

In computer programming, a Gold Master refers to a final version of software ready for release to manufacturing. It’s (mostly) the same build that gets preloaded on actual devices prior to shipping.

Nuance email (iOS 7 availability)

A GA build refers to General Availability.

Per Wikipedia, it’s the marketing stage at which “all necessary commercialization activities have been completed and a software product is available for purchase”.

In the vast majority of cases, GM and GA builds are the same.

But as the time between GM and GA can be anywhere from days to weeks to months, in some instances a GA release can be slightly updated and won’t be quite the same as the GM build released to developers.

You may also wonder why release iOS 7 GA for public consumption on September 10 unless the new hardware goes on sale that same day. I find that hard to believe: most rumors point to the September 20 launch in Japan, and even later in the case of China.

iPhone 5S vs 5C casing video

Should the iPhone 5S/5C get announced on September 10 – and if history is an indication – Apple will be taking pre-orders for a week or so before the gadgets hit store shelves. Therefore, don’t count on iOS 7 and new iPhones being available the same day, on September 10, as that would leave no time for review embargoes.

And history indeed is an indication here: Apple tends to post new iOS versions a few days ahead of new hardware availability in order to avoid iTunes server activation issues at launch.

According to the increasingly unreliable BGR, Apple will seed iOS 7 GM to developers on September 10, so developers have a few days to test their warez against the final build, before the new iPhones arrive.

An iOS 7 build for carriers will arrive around September 5, BGR noted. Both builds should be the same and reflect what the general public will get, “barring any major bugs or problems that might be discovered”.

So, in all likelihood Apple will announce the new iPhones and release a final iOS 7 build on September 10 – call it GM or GA – giving us some lead time to update our existing devices. And when the iPhone 5S and 5C arrive a week or so following the announcement, these devices will run iOS 7 out of the box.

Does that make any sense to you?