Work on iOS 5.1 has been underway at Cupertino for the past several months. In late November of last of year, we had been expecting to see signs that Apple was working on a follow-up to iOS 5.0.1 with 5.0.2; instead developers got their first taste of iOS 5.1 beta 1. In the weeks that followed, Apple released additional beta builds for its developers. We saw the second beta make Photo Stream a whole lot more useful by letting you remove individual images, and later beta 3 returned the 3G toggle to the platform. Of course, not all changes have been welcome, like when Apple salted the release with bogus device names in order to hide the addition of future hardware, or patching the exploit that made the Corona attack possible. After all that’s transpired, the beta period for iOS 5.1 may be about to come to an end, and clues have been discovered that could very well point to Apple’s planned release date.
The information comes to us thanks to the discovery of new carrier profiles for networks in several countries that offer iPhone service. This data is stored on Apple’s iphonediags.apple.com server, in a directory labeled “CarrierBundles-09Mar2012-Update”.
March 9 may be when these profiles are set to be updated, but does that necessarily mean we’ll see iOS 5.1 officially released? It’s far from a certainty, but it does seem to be a likely candidate. Especially if the next iPad is about to arrive, Apple’s going to want to get this next release out to coincide. If we’re not looking precisely at March 9, a proximal date in early March is another option.