Apple surprised the developer community by issuing an update to its iOS 5 platform over the weekend.
Computer maker Apple released a surprise update to its iOS platform over the weekend with a beta version of iOS 5, which reportedly features speech recognition software, as well as an updated iTunes 10.5 beta 5 and Apple TV beta 4. To install iOS 5 beta 5 using over the air software update, users must first erase all content and settings on the device, according to Apple's release notes for the update. The over the air software update can be initiated on devices running iOS 5 beta 3 and later, the release noted.
The update comes as rumors over the release date for the company's iPhone 5 continue to gather steam. Apple's carrier partners are busy testing the iPhone 5, according to a report published last week in The Guardian newspaper. Various tech publications have focused on September or October as a possible launch date for the device.
If that wasn't enough to set the rumor mill buzzing, the International Business Times posted screenshots of a purported "iPhone 4S prototype," which "could indicate a lower cost lineup of iPhones Apple will introduce alongside the iPhone 5 release." Pundits and analysts have speculated for months over whether Apple plans on introducing a line of low-cost iPhones to combat the rising number of Google Android smartphones on the market.
Regardless of when the iPhone 5 officially drops, consumers are already voicing their interest in the device, according to a survey by PriceGrabber. The company's iPhone 5 survey revealed that 35 percent of consumers plan to purchase the latest iPhone upon its release. Of these respondents, 51 percent indicated that they would buy the smartphone within the first year of release, 30 percent would purchase it before the end of 2011, 14 percent would buy it within the first month and 7 percent would buy it within the first week. Conducted from July 1-11, 2011, the survey includes responses from 2,852 U.S. online consumers.
When it comes to the new features shoppers deem most important in their decision to purchase the iPhone 5, practicality seems to reign. When respondents were asked to select new iPhone 5 features most important when considering a purchase, 59 percent indicated a better battery life, and 55 percent are looking for cost reduction. Forty-six percent said 4G network compatibility was important to them, 45 percent are hoping for a larger screen, and 42 percent would like an improved camera.
"Our survey data confirms the strong following Apple has built around its iPhone, with more than one-third of consumers planning to upgrade to the latest model only a little over a year following the release of the iPhone 4," said Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. "Anticipation and brand loyalty are certainly high, but in today's 24/7 work culture and uncertain economic environment, consumers are cautious to look for a reasonably priced phone that will perform optimally over an extended time period."
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.