updated 02:40 am EDT, Fri November 2, 2012
More features likely to be added, discovered as testing continues
Early reports from developers and researchers looking into iOS 6.1, the first beta of which was released on Thursday, show only minor changes over the current (and just-released) 6.0.1, but this is par for the course with an early beta, say testers. As part of the ongoing rehabilitation of Maps, the "report a problem" link has been made significantly bigger than it was previously, and the company has made a change in the lockscreen iPod controls to space out the forward, back and play/pause button for easier use.
The music control buttons are entirely new and reminiscent of the controls in the Podcasts app, and seem intended to make it easier to avoid accidental taps when using the controls with one hand. The updated Map Kit framework has been updated to allow developers to leverage natural-language user input to deliver relevant local map info in their own app. The example used by Apple would be of a user typing "coffee" into an app, which would return a map with local coffee shops.
In addition, developers and testers are cautioned that iCloud storage cannot be upgraded or downgraded while using the first beta of iOS 6.1. A tweak has been added to boarding passes in Passbook to show both date and location, and verify them before being displayed, but displaying the pass for a longer period of time. The new Advertising Identifier has been give a reset button that will change future requests to conform to the default setting when the reset is used. There has also been a minor change in the way developers access 3D acceleration through WebKit.
A few bugs have also been identified in the beta, including issues with landscape-only apps that have an element that is portrait-only (such as the Game Center login screen), images in Passbook passes that use RGB currently need to include an alpha channel, the release does not support testing In-App Purchases in the iOS simulator, and support for social network Weibo appears only if a Chinese keyboard is enabled. Using the iOS simulator with iOS 6.1b1 under Mountain Lion will block the ability to sign in to Twitter from the settings. The problem is not present in the iOS simulator running under Lion.