Exactly two weeks ago, Microsoft announced changes to the Windows Insider program. The company decided to replace the original concept of testing circles with channels, which more closely reflects the current state of the testing program. These changes are effective today.
In fact, we are talking about a simple renaming. The names of the “Early Access” and “Late Access” circles implied a certain frequency of new builds being released, but this rule has not been fulfilled for a long time. So the replacement for channels looks very logical.
Thus, “Early Access” has become a Dev channel, where weekly builds are released from the earliest stage of development, while they are not tied to any version of the system. “Late Access” has become a Beta channel where users can test the upcoming changes in Windows 10. Finally, the Release Preview channel is intended for final testing of the update prior to release.