Apple preparing iOS 6.1 golden master, public release imminent?

The golden master build of iOS 6.1 expected to be seeded to developers today

The public release of iOS 6.1 could be imminent, according to new reports that suggest Apple is testing a new beta of iOS 6.1 that is believed to be the golden master build.

German site iFun cites a 'reliable source' in its report published on Friday, which claims that the fifth beta of iOS 6.1 is about to be seeded to developers, with a public release to follow close behind.

iFun claims that the final beta has undergone "extensive internal testing" to prepare for its developer release.

iOS 6.1 brings minor changes to Apple's mobile operating system, including some Siri improvements and new iCloud security features.

For developers, iOS 6.1 brings a new Map Kit framework that will allow third-party apps to search Apple's Maps for points of interest. Apple seeded the first beta build of iOS 6.1 to developers in November. The most recent build arrived on 19 December, alongside a third Mountain Lion 10.8.3 beta.

The iOS 6.1 is expected to be available for iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS, as well as the fourth, third, and second iPad, the fifth and fourth generation iPod touch, and the iPad mini.

Looking ahead, Apple is rumoured to be testing iOS 7 ahead of its expected June launch, alongside an iPhone 6. Identifiers for an iPhone 6 running iOS 7 have recently been spotted in app usage logs by developers.

Alternatively, Apple could be planning to launch iOSX, a new operating system that fuses iOS and OS X together, rumours suggest.

See also:

iPhone 6 rumour rollup for week ending 11 January

Police 'launch Grand Theft Auto-like iPhone game

How to get started with the new iPad, iPad mini, iPhone and iPod touch

iPhone 6 release date, rumours and leaked images

Is this what Apple's iPhone 6 will look like?

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Ashleigh Allsopp

Macworld U.K.
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