iOS 5.1 pre-GM leaked: Better camera access, Japanese Siri

Apple-iPhone-4SAs the impending release of the iPad 3 draws nearer, the Apple leaks keep coming. Portuguese website BlogdoiPhone has just obtained a copy of the iOS 5.1 pre-Gold Master update — for those of you unfamiliar with Apple’s beta update lingo, the Gold Master is generally the software product released to developers that will ship to consumers with very minor changes.

The big news is that users will now be able to access the camera app in a much more elegant way, directly from the iPhone lock screen; Previously, in order to use the camera app, users had to double-tap the home button and then tap the magically revealed camera icon. According to this release, in iOS 5.1, users will simply slide over to unlock, and then slide up again on the camera icon, allowing for a single, fluid motion. For those of you that access the camera often from the lock screen, this could be very welcome news.

Domo arigato, Siri. Apart from the relatively few additions that we saw in the last beta release of iOS 5.1, this pre-GM will apparently add Japanese language support for Siri, which will bring the total languages supported by Siri to six. It is a possibility that the final iOS 5.1 will also find Siri moving out of the beta software phase (that’s right, Siri is still in beta), especially if the rumors circulating that Siri will be included in the iPad 3’s software prove true.

Perhaps the most pressing issue for some users, it appears that reviews are somewhat mixed regarding iOS 5.1 and a remedy for the now-infamous battery drain bug that has affected many iPhone and iPad owners upon upgrading to iOS 5. It seems some testers have found the problem resolved with the new release, others indeed still continue to have battery life issues. The inclusion of a 3G toggle in iOS 5.1 would theoretically increase battery life when switched off, and could be Apple’s subtle suggestion for alleviating the problem. Let’s hope not.

It would be silly to think that the final version if iOS 5.1 would be released at any time other than to coincide with the frenzied announcement of the new iPad 3 — that being said, we expect both to available around March 9.

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Image Credit: BlogdoiPhone

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