Apple has snapped up iOS app beta test service TestFlight, commonly used by developers to give early access to new iPhone and iPad software ahead of its full release in the App Store. Burstly, which acquired TestFlight in 2012, will now join Apple's ranks; the company also operates FlightPath, which gives developers mobile analytics for greater insight into how their apps are used.
"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time," the company said in its typically terse statement, "and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."
TestFlight was developed as a way for app creators to give samples of their apps - often works-in-progress - to early testers and others, without requiring that they have a jailbroken iOS device that supports sideloading application files. Unlike on Android, where a simple system setting unlocks the phone or tablet for installing apps from sources other than Google's own Play store, iOS is more controlled in where it will allow software to be loaded from.
That may well be changing now that TestFlight is being brought in-house. However, Burstly's other tools have also proved themselves valuable to developers, giving things like metrics on what sort of in-app purchase success rate is being seen, and how adverts are being received.