Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) reportedly will release the gold master version of its new iOS 5 operating system to overseas assemblers sometime during the period between Sept. 23 and Sept. 30, setting the stage for the mid-October launch of the fifth-generation iPhone. Gold master release are typically identical to the code version issued to the public; analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tells AppleInsider that the new iPhone and iPod touch entered mass production in late August, and upon receipt of the iOS 5 GM, they can begin installing the software into the devices.
Kuo adds that iPhones and iPod touches running iOS 5 are likely to reach retail in mid-October. Apple has not yet publicly confirmed that the iPhone 5 or fifth-generation iPod touch officially exist.
Apple has so far issued seven beta versions of iOS 5 to registered developers, with the most recent surfacing in late August. First unveiled in June during Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, iOS 5 heralds more than 200 new user features and brings 1,500 new APIs. It is first and foremost about seamless integration with iCloud, which replaces Apple's premium MobileMe offering. The iCloud service automatically syncs content on Apple servers for access across iOS devices as well as Macs and PCs--each day, iCloud Backup saves information from the user's iOS devices over Wi-Fi, storing content including purchased music, apps and books, as well as photos, videos, device settings and app data.
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