Apple has begun seeding a beta version of its updated mobile platform to developers, but hidden inside the iOS 5.1 code are references to a next generation iPhone and two next-gen iPads, internally named iPhone 5,1, iPad 2,4 and iPad 3,3, respectively.
The code also lists an entirely new device called J33, which could potentially be the new Apple TV box or, possibly but unlikely, the much-ballyhooed iTV.
The iPad listed as iPad 2,4 is probably not a brand new iPad, but some analysts believe the device could be a Sprint-powered, WiMAX-enabled iPad 2. Yet, existence of an iPad 3,3 could mean a completely new iPad device. Rumors about the next generation iPad believe the device will double the pixel resolution and use multiple LED bars for better image detail and luminosity, offering a display resolution somewhere in the ballpark of 2048 x 1536 pixels.
The reference to iPhone 5,1 could very well be an entirely new iPhone model, as the iPhone 4S was previously listed internally as iPhone 4,1. All signs have pointed to the next iPhone being far different from the current iPhone model, since many reports believe the iPhone 5 will have a different form factor to accommodate a bigger screen, an NFC chip and LTE capabilities.
The fact that a new iPhone is being referenced this early means that consumers might expect the new iPhone by summertime, when Apple has typically chosen to release new iPhone models. The lone exception to this trend was the iPhone 4S, which launched in October.
In line with the rumors of a new iPhone, Hitachi and Sony have reportedly begun shipping 4-inch LCD panels to Apple for final production of new iOS devices, which are believed to be the next-generation iPhone.
iOS 5.1 promises a slew of new tweaks and fixes to the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad and third and fourth generation iPod Touch. Developers hope the update solves some of the more persistent battery life issues, as well as some of the syncing issues using iCloud. Users with an Apple developer license can download the update now.