ios7_apple_iphone beta 3A new version of the iOS 7 beta is now available for developers, or keen users to try it out via a sneaky developer account, with a lot of work on the smoothness and reliability of the OS, plus a lot of issues sorted. 

Digging for Features

After the likely shenanigans of the dodgy budget iPhone cases last week, comes some firmer news from Apple with the release of a new beta for iOS 7 which is heavy on the bug fixes and subtle improvements. Comments suggest that the new main font has undergone some work (now Helvetica Neue Regular according to font-watchers)and any text that moves on the screens now looks smoother, with many apps having some font work done. 

Under the hood, and leaving its WWDC launch behind, fixes for the likes of the Messages app, the new Keychain feature for iCloud, and AirPlay tweaks. There is also the reappearance of event dots in the Calendar app, and for clock-watching music fans, the lock screen can now shows both the time and the currently playing album artwork. 

The duplicate push to apps bug has also been squashed and while there is still lots of work to do, Apple's developers are clearly burning the midnight oil to fix the features and respond to developer feedback, for example many complained about the ".com" button being tripped when they tried to use the space bar, that's been replaced by holding down the "." key to get a list of web suffixes. 

Preparing for Launch

While Apple's software devs work away, there's still little hint out of Apple about what hardware will be coming in its Fall launch. A lower-cost device still has to be the favorite as the global market swells in the mid-range, while the much-expect iPhone 5S will have to provide a major power boost given the poor performance rating of the iPhone 5. 

Whatever happens, it'll be the big new features that help sell the phones and iOS 7 itself. So, there's some new stations added to the iTunes Radio app, broadening Apple's new media offering, while the in-car features can apparently work via USB or WiFi connection, allow the phone to work unplugged. 

Comments also suggest this version is somewhat more stable than the second beta, which hopefully means that it will be complete in time for the big show in a couple of months, as developers make sure all their apps play happily with the OS.