What's the actual difference between versions 'a' and 'b' of MATLAB, other than being 6 months apart?

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Hello guys.
I always thought the main difference between versions 'a' and 'b' of MATLAB was 'b' being 6 months "better" than version 'a' and, of course, this means that naturally the version 'b' is going to be a more up-to-date version, with more features as well - being the main intent to have new releases every semester. However, just the other day a friend of mine claimed something I wasn't able to double-check elsewhere:
"Usually the 'a' versions are more stable (...) being 'b' more of a pre-release of version 'a' of the next year [rather than an actual release], having features that have past beta but still can be improved" (and supposedly will be improved and perfected at 'a'). But isn't this the story with just any release? Don't you always implement new things and improve things of the past as necessary?
" 'b' will usually have more features than 'a', however the version 'b' is going to be something around 90% to 100% reliable, while 'a' will always be 100% reliable". Have someone ever come across these reliability concerns once?
(Writings in italic are my comments about the claims, and not part of the claim itself)
Is someone capable of confirming this? I have always seen it as if the real beta release/period takes place just months before the actual release of 'a' and 'b', when Mathworks releases its actual beta version to get feedback. Am I missing something?
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dpb 2019년 4월 7일
I think your friend is just making up stuff...there's no evidence to that effect at all; and certainly 'a' releases have bugs just as do 'b' releases.
My observation is that TMW releases features into the wild with whichever update is next based on some internal and nondisclosed decision-making process as to whether the particular feature is/is not "ready for prime time".
Some pretty major features have been introduced piecemeal (thinking of datetime as particular example) with it taking several releases for many of the corollary functions to become "datetime aware" and some of the specialty graphs still weren't as of R2018b while the base class came out clear back in R2014b.
That it happend to be a 'b' release is, in my best guess, purely happenstance.
Personally, I'd prefer TMW not worry about the 6-month cycle but release features when they really are "ripe" rather than somewhat piecemeal, but they've got the competitive pressures to deal with.

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Aik-Siong Koh
Aik-Siong Koh 2021년 7월 8일
편집: dpb 2021년 7월 8일
Twice-Yearly Releases
MathWorks follows a twice-yearly general release schedule, with one release in the March timeframe and a second in the September timeframe. Each general release synchronizes the full MATLAB® and Simulink® product families, delivering new features and bug fixes for existing products and, when available, new products.
More details are at
(Converted to active link -- dpb)
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Rik 2021년 7월 8일
My goal of maintaining this list is to have one page to find the changes that might be relevant for questions on this forum.

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