According to several reports surfaced earlier this week, Apple is targeting a release of the next major iOS update, version 4.3, in two weeks. We just got word from a reliable source that iOS 4.3 should be available on February 14th at 10 AM PST.
Back in December, we reported iOS 4.3 would introduce improved support for AirPlay, bug fixes and code maintenance, iTunes app subscriptions:
iOS 4.3 should, however, include bug fixes and maintenance of the code. It’s likely that 4.3 will also address the initial issues found in AirPlay, but we can’t confirm this just yet.
Back to The Daily, our source corroborates Gruber’s theory about recurring subscriptions: an iOS update will be needed to support them, and iOS 4.3 is supposed to be that update.
The current betas of iOS 4.3 indeed come with these features and, more specifically, the app subscriptions that were launched with The Daily rely on a series of APIs that will be enabled for all third-party developers in iOS 4.3.
In the same article, we reported that Apple had been planning a mid-December release of iOS 4.3, mentioning that it was unclear, however, whether or not the WiFi bugs found in iOS 4.2 could postpone the availability of the new OS. Clearly they did.
Interestingly enough, in December it was also rumored that Apple might hold a media event on December 9th to officially preview iOS 4.3 or the app subscriptions feature. While we haven't heard from our source about this, with the release of iOS 4.3 happening on February 14th (which is a Monday, the day Apple usually releases new iOS updates), it's quite curious to look back at the reports from the past weeks that pointed to an Apple event on February 9th -- again, a few days before the release of iOS 4.3. Last, here's an interesting tidbit from John Gruber's review of the Verizon iPhone:
At some point in the next two weeks or so, Apple holds an announcement regarding in-app subscription APIs (and, I suspect, given this week’s news regarding in-app payments for third-party bookstores, other in-app purchasing changes). At this point, Apple releases a new version of iOS with support for in-app subscription purchasing and the Wi-Fi hotspot feature. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Apple releases that iOS update prior to February 10, the date the iPhone 4 is slated to arrive in Verizon customers’ hands.
That’s all truly just a guess on my part though. I could be wrong. For one thing, The Daily is an iPad-only app, and tethering is an iPhone-only feature. But I suspect that Apple now prefers to keep the iOS versions in sync between iPhone and iPad — and surely, there will be subscription payment apps that work on both devices.
February 9th is also the day before the release of the Verizon iPhone, when Apple and Verizon will begin accepting iPhone 4 orders again.