Just before CEO Tim Cook unveiled the iPad 3/new iPad on 7th March, Apple announced the release of iOS 5.1 through software update for all iOS devices supporting iOS 5. iOS 5.1 is a major software update for the iOS family as it contains a lot of tweaks and adjustments to correct several flaws in the previous version of iOS.
AT&T Goes 4G- A particular feature of the upgraded OS caused a lot of confusion and was highlighted for a while in the blogosphere. After upgrading to iOS 5.1 iPhone 4S units operating on the HSDPA network of AT&T showed 4G instead of 3G near the signal meter. Even though HSPA+ does not qualify for 4G classification, AT&T somehow believes it does. It did cause some legal hassles as people were hysterical for getting 4G access on a 3G network! It turned out to be a marketing strategy which went a bit haywire.
Bug fixes- Many iPhone owners complained about battery issues after upgrading to iOS 5. Even the new iPhone 4S showed a similar problem. Apple claims that iOS 5.1 will address that issue and also fix the call dropping issues that were reported some time ago.
Photo Stream fix- Apple had introduced iCloud service in which users could store photos using the Photo Stream service. But after a user uploaded a pic to Photo Stream, he could no longer delete it. But iOS 5.1 fixed that issue by allowing users to delete photos that have been shared on the Photo Stream service.
Camera Shortcut on Lock Screen- After upgrading to iOS 5 iPhone users no longer had to unlock their iPhones in order to access the camera. There was a shortcut available on the lock screen itself, which allowed them to take photos instantly. But the problem was that it wasn’t visible at all times to be used when needed urgently. But with this update the shortcut will be visible at all times. A new gesture has also been added to access the camera app. You can now slide up the lock screen access the camera app too!
Improved Camera app- The camera app has been redesigned this time and the shutter button has been shifted to the right side, which is the most favourable position to take a shot on a smartphone/tablet! Moreover there is now support for detection of multiple faces.
Better Audio on iPad- iPad users will now get better audio quality along with a higher volume while watching videos or listening to music/podcasts.
Konnichiha Siri! After expanding Siri’s linguistic talents to 3 languages- English, French and German, Apple added another language to Siri’s cap- Japanese. It now understands and responds to Japanese language!
To get the new iOS on your idevice just connect it to your PC, open iTunes and check for updates. It will guide you through the rest of the process. Otherwise if you want to download the .ipsw manually, then you can get them from Redmond Pie. There are some other not very important but good improvements in the functioning and performance in the OS, which is why you should upgrade now. But if you have jailbroken your idevice and fear going through all the steps again, you can rest in peace!
UPDATE- Jailbreak for iOS 5.1 (untethered) are available now! We will post a how-to soon.