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iOS 4.3.1 update goes live, but iOS 5 may not be released until Autumn

Apple has pushed out a minor update to its iOS software, version 4.3.1, although it's all about bug fixes. There is also new speculation about what may be in the next major release, iOS 5.

Another iOS update? Quick, dash to your computer! Oh, actually, maybe don't rush. Apple has pushed out the iOS 4.3.1 software update for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, but it's essentially just bug fixes. Separately, though, there's some intriguing information on the loose about the next major update to Apple's software, iOS 5.

iOS 4.3.1's release comes hot on the heels of iOS 4.3, but according to the 'Important Information' box that pops up when you download it, the update merely fixes an "occasional graphics glitch" on the fourth-gen iPod touch, clears up bugs connecting to certain mobile networks, and sorts the image flicker on some TVs when using Apple's digital AV adaptor.

It had previously been reported that iOS 4.3.1 also patched a loophole being used to jailbreak devices, but unsurprisingly, the update itself has already been jailbroken this morning. It's like a game of Whack-a-Mole, it really is. Other speculation before the release suggested we might see slightly improved battery life running iOS 4.3.1 too.

Back to iOS 5, though, which if Apple followed its traditional pattern, would be showed off in the next few weeks at a developer-focused event, before being released in the summer alongside a new iPhone.

TechCrunch thinks 2011 will be different, though. It has published a story claiming that iOS 5 will launch this autumn, and may be previewed at Apple's WWDC event in June -- although the exact date of that conference has not yet been announced.

"The new iOS will be heavily built around the cloud, and we could see several new services launch from Apple that take advantage of this," writes TC's MG Siegler. "Yes, one of those is very likely a 'music locker' service. There is also a fall [he means autumn, chaps] launch aim for this, during Apple's annual music-themed event... One of the new cloud service elements is likely a location service that focuses on finding friends and family members."

If we can put in a request now, it'd be for any such service to not just be restricted to finding friends and family members with iOS devices. Because believe it or not, many of them don't.

Talking of iOS and location, Apple is hiring an iOS Maps application developer to help it "radically improve how people interact with maps and location-based services". It's fair to assume that location is going to be a big part of iOS 5 in several ways, from mapping and navigation through to social.