Apple is gearing up for the release of the new iOS 5.1 software update for its existing iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod Touch 3G/4G, iPad and iPad 2 sometime around the first weekend of March, just in time for the much-awaited launch of the iPad 3 (if rumors are to be believed).

The news came from the blog site YourDailyMac, which had found a pointer to Friday, March 9 (09Mar2012) for a potential release of the upcoming iOS version. The date was spotted inside the new profiles published by Apple for various iPhone carrier operators, intended for operators in Japan, France, Greece, Finland, and Sweden.

The iOS 5.1, the first significant update to the existing iOS 5 since it was released in mid-October last year, is expected to offer a fix to the darned battery drainage issues, along with some extra features to Siri, allowing users to adjust Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings through the iPhone 4S voice assistant - much like what most of the Siri jailbreak tweaks does right now, according to Cydia Blog.

Considering that Apple is highly rumored to launch its third generation iPad early in March, the timing would be accurate if Apple decides to match the release of iOS 5.1 with that of the iPad 3.

Given that Apple is always inclined to keep major changes and new features to the main product releases, it should not come as surprise if the iPad-maker releases iOS 5.1 simultaneously with the announcement of the iPad 3.

Blog site The Verge is also betting on March 9 as a potential release date for the upcoming Apple tablet.

If Apple were planning on having these ready for the weekend of March 9, it seems relatively possible that they could choose that date...perhaps with a catchy theme like 'It's time to leap ahead,' wrote The Verge's Joshua Topolsky.

Apple released its iPad 2 on March 2 last year and the device went on sale the next Friday, March 11. Technology news Web site CNET believes that if Apple announces iOS 5.1 following the iPad 3, it could provide that Jobsian 'one more thing' touch that Apple fans have been missing.

How Should Jailbreakers Get Prepared?

Since the iOS 5.1 software update is expected to fall approximately in the iPad 3 launch timeframe, jailbreakers should start preparing themselves by saving their SHSH blobs (Signature HaSH blobs) before updating to iOS 5.1. Users can perform this with either TinyUmbrella or iFaith.

iOS hacker and TinyUmbrella developer Notcom issued a reminder earlier this week to jailbreakers to take a backup of iOS 5.0.1 SHSH blobs. He wrote:

With the quiet time between jailbreak and iOS version, make sure you get your SHSHs saved. I've been working on the TinyUmbrella rewrite (albeit sparingly due to real life demands). It's important to make sure you have your 5.0.1 SHSHs tucked away safe. There is no guarantee that we'll have things this good again.

Apple has reportedly released iOS 5.1 beta 3 (developer build) to address various issues. It's possible that Apple might also patch @pod2g's untethered iOS 5.0, 5.0.1 jailbreak exploit, leaving users with a tethered jailbreak on A4 devices. In such a situation, saved SHSH blobs will help users downgrade to iOS 5.0.1 in the future and have access to an untethered jailbreak.

SHSH blobs is a signature file, used against the Apple server to downgrade a device to an earlier version of iOS. Once Apple releases an update for iOS 5, and if any user upgrades his or device to the latest built (iOS 5.1), these SHSH blobs will help to downgrade the device to iOS 5.0.1.

For more details on how to back up SHSH blobs using TinyUmbrella and iFaith, click on the following links.

TinyUmbrella

iFaith

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