Earlier this evening Apple seeded developers with the first beta of iOS 5.1 and Xcode 4.3. The iOS 5.1 beta has several focus areas including the music app, Newsstand, security bugs and more. This isn’t the most interesting part of this story however.
9to5Mac has since reported that this new beta references an unreleased iPad 2 variant. Buried in the code of iOS 5.1 is an “iPad2,4” product ID. Based on the fact that the current Wi-Fi iPad has an “iPad2,1” identifier, the AT&T model has an “iPad2,2” identifier, and the Verizon variant has an “iPad2,3” identifier, it would be safe to assume that this new ID is for an unreleased Sprint iPad 2 model.
There had been rumors that Apple would be releasing an iPad model for the Sprint network, but since that didn’t happen when the iPhone 4S was introduced, I can’t see it happening now as we’re rapping on December’s door. It’s simply too far along into the holiday shopping season to roll something new like this out.
Secondly, Apple could make a bigger splash an announce Sprint compatibility when they roll out the iPad 3 early next year, that’s a given, but I wonder if they will offer a world-mode iPad like they have with the iPhone 4S. That is, make one cellular-capable iPad model that could work on any of Apple’s carrier partner networks. Food for thought.