Apple launches iOS 6.1

iOS 6 devices

Cupertino giant Apple has updated its iOS operating system, adding LTE support for an additional 36 iPhone and 23 iPad carriers.

The new 4G markets are in Denmark, Finland, Switzerland and some areas of the Middle East.

Version 6.1 still includes Siri, Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar, shared photo streams via iCloud, and passbook.

For the UK, iOS6.1 is just a bug fix

It also has the initially ill-received Maps application, which replaced the Google Maps app that had featured in previous versions of the operating system. Inaccuracies and distorted pictures caused general ridicule, resulting in the the app's project manager exiting the company.

Philip Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, claimed iOS is the world's most advanced mobile operating system.

"iOS 6.1 brings LTE support to more markets around the world, so even more users can enjoy ultrafast Safari browsing, Face Time video calls, iCloud services and iTunes and App store downloads," he said.

However, Clive Longbottom, an analyst at Quocirca, was less enthusiastic.

"For the UK, iOS6.1 is just a bug fix. [Most things] mentioned in Apple's statement are already in iOS 6.0," he said.

"However, it may be that some of these bug fixes address issues around privacy and that is something enterprises could be interested," Longbottom told IT Pro.

Tony Cripps, principle analyst for fellow analyst firm Ovum's devices and platforms arm, agreed with Longbottom that, by and large, the new release is nothing to write home about.

"This is a point' release, so the objective is not to add a lot of new functionality. However, it is always best, as a user, to update your device with new releases, as it could fix important bugs," Cripps said.

He also told IT Pro that Apple will soon need to carry out a more thorough refresh of iOS.

"Not much has changed since iOS has first launch and, with Microsoft's overhaul of its system and the introduction of [Modern UI], there are greater expectations on the part of consumers. The company cannot ignore the importance of the interface" he said.

Owners of iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone4, iPhone 3GS, third and fourth generation iPad, iPad mini, iPad 2 and fourth and fifth generation iPod touch devices can upgrade to iOS 6.1 immediately, free of charge. However, Apple warns not all features may be available on all devices and advises users to visit its website for further details.

Apple has also launched a new version of its fourth generation iPad with Retina display to the US market. The updated tablet device sports 128GB of memory twice the storage capacity of previous models.

Jane McCallion
Deputy Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's deputy editor, specializing in cloud computing, cyber security, data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Deputy Editor, she held the role of Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialise in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.