Apple, in a surprise move, has introduced a new OS X Beta Seed Program for Mac users keen to try the latest version of OS X without having to worry about becoming a developer.
Up until now, users of Apple's desktop operating system have had to sign up to become a developer to get early access to the software; something that costs $99 a year.
However, that's all changed following the move by the Cupertino based company to relax the rules so those brave enough can play with the new software ahead of its official release to the public.
Once signed up, users can test out pre-release versions of the of Mavericks operating system (OS X), bugs and all, before the company releases stable versions to the general public.
The idea is that early adopters will be able to get sneak peaks of the new tweaks before they become available to everyone, and in return Apple gets thousands of beta testers to make the software better for everyone else.
It is a system Microsoft has employed for a number of years with Windows 7 and Windows 8 allowing anyone to play with the new operating system before the official release and the need to pay up kicks in.
With the Apple beta, users that sign up to the new feature will be able to access pre-release versions of OS X via the Mac Store in a similar way to how paying developers have been able to do it for some time now.
Users will have to sign an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) barring them from talking about the new features, although how Apple plans to enforce that is anyone's guess.
Apple already holds developers who pay the $99 fee to an NDA, but that hasn't stopped countless numbers of developers and Mac fan sites leaking every minuscule detail of what's coming, before it officially launches.
Apple is expected to announce a new version of OS X, current dubbed Syrah at WWDC in June. It will be interesting to see if the new beta programme extends to the new version of the new operating system when it is announced.
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