The pre-release version of iOS 5.1 has been available since yesterday along with Xcode 4.3 beta for developers who want to test their applications in iOS 5.1.
Introducing version 5.1 instead of the expected 5.0.2 for the latest update of Apple's operating system, indicates that it is more than just a few patches. Many are waiting for a true solution to the much-discussed iPhone battery problem, and there are also rumours about the new update improving Siri's capabilities.
Developers have already come across code within the beta update that references upcoming iDevices (opens in new tab) including: the next-gen Apple TV, 2 new iPads and the next iPhone. With the latter being referred to as iPhone 5,1 - compared to the iPhone 4S which was labelled 4,1; giving rise to speculation that a more radical upgrade is in the works this time round.
One of the solutions that Apple's engineers have been looking at for stopping the battery drain is a new "geofencing" settings to be introduced in iOS 5.1, 9to5Mac (opens in new tab)reports. Some apps, like Reminders use geofencing to alert when the user arrives at or leaves certain locations. The user will have better control over the battery usage as icons give information about how often different items are using your location.
Another new feature in iOS 5.1 is the possibility to sync iTunes Match music with the "Use Cellular Data" option.
The beta version is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and Apple has also made available the appropriate tools for developers wanting to create applications compatible with iOS 5.1.