Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is rolling out the second beta release of its iOS 5.1 operating system to registered developers, highlighted by a new and much-requested feature enabling users to delete individual photos synced to the iCloud Photo Stream.
All photos snapped with an iOS device are automatically synced to iCloud--even if a user deletes an image from their iPhone, it remains intact in the Photo Stream album, meaning consumers must unsync their entire photo library simply to remove a single picture. The new iOS 5.1 beta 2 significantly simplifies the process: "Photos taken using iOS 5.1 can be deleted from Photo Stream on your device and will be removed automatically from Photo Stream on your other iOS 5.1 devices," state Apple's release notes. "Older photos can be manually deleted from your iOS 5.1 devices."
MacRumors reports that iOS 5.1 beta 2 also brings a series of fake configuration files and other misleading references clearly designed to throw off tech bloggers combing the release for clues to future Apple products. While previous iOS beta releases have contained data revealing forthcoming product releases and feature updates, iOS 5.1 beta 2 takes steps to obscure Apple's roadmap, planting references to products like iPad"10,1," "iPhone11,3," "iPod11,1" and "AppleTV8,3" and making it far more difficult for forecasters to separate legitimate clues from red herrings.
At press time, it is unknown whether iOS 5.1 beta 2 takes steps to resolve lingering battery issues around the new iPhone 4S. Apple issued two iOS 5 beta updates in November after multiple consumers reported battery life issues with the company's new iPhone 4S, but problems still persist. "iOS 5 may simply be using more data transmission or running more background processes to support its new features," ABI Research analyst Michael Morgan told Ars Technica. "Any undefined glitch is a massive problem to solve for such a complex system. iOS 5.0.1 supposedly fixed the problem for some users but made it worse for others."
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. The iOS 5 launch additionally heralds the introduction of voice recognition technologies acquired by Apple when it purchased startup Siri roughly 18 months ago. The Siri software enables iOS device users to employ natural spoken language to access and perform device tasks like mobile search, messaging and contacts.
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