Apple recently seeded a new build of iOS 7.1 to its “testing partners” and carriers according to BGR. According to the report, the public release of the software is set to come in March. The launch of iOS 7.1 in March would mark more than four months of testing, as the first iOS 7.1 beta was seeded to developers in mid-November. The second beta version of iOS 7.1, which is currently available to developers, was released in mid-December. It should be noted that lengthy development periods aren’t unheard of, before Mavericks, OS X 10.8.5 Mountain Lion was tested over a period of three months, from June to September. The news from this report doesn’t come as much of a surprise as a result.
The current version of iOS, Apple’s iOS 7.0.4, was released on November 14. If an iOS 7.1 release is not planned until March, it’s likely that Apple will release iOS 7.0.5 in the interim, though there hasn’t been any sign of the software in recent logs.
Being the first update to iOS 7 since its launch, iOS 7.1 is expected to include multiple bug fixes along with new accessibility options in the form of “Button Shapes” and potential support for iOS in the Car. Given the minor updates bundled into iOS 7.1, its unclear why such a lengthy testing period is necessary. In contrast, Apple released its iOS 6.1 update in January, though its 5.1 update also came in March of 2012. The following was mentioned regarding the matter:
Apple has begun seeding a new build of iOS 7.1 to testing partners, we have learned from a trusted source. iOS 7.1 beta 3 is said to bring several important bug fixes in addition to some new features, though our source was uncomfortable detailing these for us at this time.