Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is rolling out its iOS 5.1 mobile operating system update, timed to coincide with the March 16 retail launch of its hotly anticipated iPad 3 tablet.
iOS 5.1 is highlighted by expanded over-the-air download limits enabling users to download applications and music files of up to 50MB over 3G/4G networks. Apple previously capped OTA downloads at 20MB. The increase is necessitated by the iPad 3's 9.7-inch high-definition Retina display, which comes complete with 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution--the upgrade will enable developers to create more graphics-intensive applications, translating to larger download files.
Ars Technica reports that iOS 5.1 also heralds an update to Apple's iTunes Terms of Service agreement accommodating free trials for subscription-based apps. The agreement now states "Certain paid In App Subscriptions may offer a free trial period prior to charging your Account. If you decide you do not want to purchase the In App Subscription, turn off auto-renewal in your Account settings during the free trial period."
iOS 5.1 additionally brings relief for consumers suffering from iPhone 4S battery woes. Some iPhone 4S owners began complaining about battery life immediately following the smartphone's October 2011 release--reports suggested that the problems spanned multiple settings, operators and usage patterns, making the fundamental flaws even more difficult to identify and address. Subsequent iOS 5.1 beta releases failed to solve the issue, but multiple user reports indicate that the official iOS 5.1 consumer version heralds a significant improvement on battery consumption.
Also new for consumers: A Japanese language version of Apple's Siri voice recognition software, first introduced to registered iOS developers in January's iOS 5.1 beta 3, Genius Mixes and Genius playlists for iTunes Match subscribers, podcast controls for playback speed and a 30-second rewind for iPad and improved iPad audio for movies and television series.
Apple first released iOS 5 to consumers on Oct. 12, delivering 200 new features as well as backwards-compatibility with devices dating back to the iPhone 3GS. Highlights include iMessage (a free SMS alternative enabling users to send free text messages, photos and videos between all iOS devices), location-based Reminders, deep Twitter integration, Newsstand (an in-house distribution system for iPad magazine content), an improved Safari browser and PC-free activation.
- read this Ars Technica article
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