Apple updates iOS 5 developer tools

Apple surprised the development community over the weekend by making a rare Saturday update to the beta version of its next iPhone/iPad software.

The release of iOS 5 beta 5 happened on August 6, allowing die-hard Apple developers to wrap up their weekend with a couple new toys to play with.

Actually, though, the update is not a huge one. For the most part it is just a stability patch, fixing some issues and making sure things continue to run smoothly as new features are rolled out.

One enhancement is a Hearing Aid mode, which allows those who need to use a hearing aid in everyday life to get as much out of their iPhone or iPad as possible.

The new iOS firmware, version 5, was first unveiled at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Since then, it has been updated four times.

There are a few major changes, including a brand new messaging platform akin to Blackberry Messenger, ties to Apple’s nascent cloud storage service, and a complete reworking of the software’s notifcation system.

The latest version of iOS software will no doubt come with the launch of the next iPhone, which is expected to happen either next month or in October. There have been conflicting back-and-forth reports on exactly when that release date will be.

It’s also unclear whether the next device will be called the iPhone 5, or if it will continue to carry the ‘4’ tag and use a name like the iPhone 4S or potentially the iPhone 4G.