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iPhone 5: iOS 5 beta version issued to developers.

iPhone 5: iOS 5 is set to launch this fall, but developers already have their mitts on the new Apple OS.

By Matthew Shaer / August 8, 2011

Apple iOS 5 has been shipped in beta form to developers. Here, the screen of an Apple iPhone 3GS.

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iOS 5, the latest iteration of Apple's mobile operating system, has been dished out in beta version to developers, and judging by the early reports, the upgrade over iOS 4 won't be particularly enormous. There are bunch of bug fixes – and hat tip here to Boy Genius Report, which has published a sheaf of iOS 5 details – and full compatibility with iCloud. Also on the docket (maybe): Some sort of text-to-speech function.

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In a much-read post over at PC World, Ian Paul argues that much of iOS 5 feels familiar. And for a good reason: iOS 5, Paul says, gets a lot of its best features from Android. Paul has compiled a list of the "ripped-off" functionalities, which include greater social media integration and over-the-air updates (as opposed to Apple updates now, which require the user to plug his or her device into a computer).

"You might even call these new features magical or revolutionary, unless you're an Android user, then you'd call them 'stuff I've been using for years.' The latest additions to Apple's mobile OS are probably a welcome relief for iPhone and iPad fans," Paul argues, "but it's hard to call iOS 'the world's most advanced mobile operating system' when Apple is playing catch up to Android."

Fair enough. iOS 5, of course, will likely ship on the new iPhone 5, if the new iPhone 5 ever arrives. Last we heard on that front, the iPhone 5 had entered the final stage of testing, and was already being hauled around by "high level Apple and carrier executives." The question is whether the iPhone 5 will look more or less like the iPhone 4 – boxy, flat – or whether it will get a radical teardrop shape. Or another shape altogether.

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