Apple has released iOS 8.1.1 into the hands of eager beta developers earlier this week, and so far, feedback has been positive. But will we see this update leave beta before the holiday season officially kicks in?
iOS 8.1.1 was released to fix several bugs that lingered after the messy launch of Apple's iOS 8 in September. The launched software contained so many bugs that Apple released a patch the following week that actually introduced even more problems. With reports coming in of broken Touch ID fingerprint sensors and cell connection issues, the tech giant decided to just pull that update and drop another fix the next day. That version, iOS 8.02, repaired the worst problems, but then introduced some bugs with Bluetooth.
On October 20, Apple rolled out iOS 8.1 which fixed the Bluetooth problem and a number of other glitches. This latest version, still in beta, aims to fix the Wi-Fi, Safari, and battery drain problems introduced with that patch. While some would say that this is typical for a new operating system's launch, others are calling it one of Apple's worst OS launches ever.
In addition to fine-tuning the new OS, 8.1.1 is also said to fix performance issues on older devices like the iPhone 4s and the iPad 2. The jailbreak community is also reporting that this patch kills the Pangu jailbreak as well.
The surprising thing about iOS 8.1.1 is the fact that it's a patch in beta. Betas are usually reserved for the larger releases, like iOS 7 and iOS 8, so we imagine Apple is taking its time with this one (now that the largest issues have been resolved) and wants to make sure this one is done right.
Despite this beta status, you probably shouldn't expect an announcement when 8.1.1 leaves the testing phase. The 20 MB patch is small and it should polish up iOS 8 enough to keep Apple fans happy.
But the real question on everyone's mind is regarding a release date. If you look back at recent beta-to-release transitions, they typically take around four to five months. Granted, that's for the larger updates, but the testing phase is still a process. Combine this with the fact that the holiday season is traditionally slower for production due to time off for those November/December vacations, and you're looking at an undesirable launch spot in those last two to three weeks of the year. But does this mean that Apple will rush this release out before that slow time to let its employees enjoy the holidays, or will be postponed until 2015 for basically the same reason? The patch's small size may mean the latter.
All in all, this small patch should finally top off the problems that arose with iOS 8, but we're not expecting much more than that. After the holidays, Apple will regroup and start working on more feature-rich content for the next big update.