Apple Reportedly Targeting Mid-December for iOS 4.3 Release

Earlier today, we noted increasing rumors regarding Apple and News Corp working together to launch a tablet-focused news product, with John Gruber weighing in to suggest that Apple is tentatively planning for a December 9th media event to introduce the new offering. Gruber noted that Apple's key role in the product's development has been the creation of APIs to support recurring subscription billing via iTunes Store accounts, functionality that would presumably require another iOS update.

MacStories adds its voice to the rumors, claiming that Apple has been planning for a release of iOS 4.3 for Monday, December 13th. That release plan was predicated, however, on iOS 4.2 seeing an early November debut, a schedule that was pushed back after Apple discovered several bugs just prior to release.

Here's what we heard from a reliable source: when Apple didn't know about the WiFi issues in the GM seed of iOS 4.2, the OS was scheduled to be released weeks before Nov. 22nd. Apple found out about the WiFi issues, released a second GM build and iOS 4.2 came out yesterday. It came out in November, but it should have been out in the first half of November. Anyway, before the WiFi issues were discovered, Apple was already planning to release a new build of iOS 4.x in mid-December. Most specifically, they were planning for an iOS 4.3 release on December 13th, which is a Monday.

Our source tells us it is unclear whether the "extra time" that was required to ship iOS 4.2 (actually, it's iOS 4.2.1) will cause a delay for the rumored release of iOS 4.3 on December 13th or not. 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.

The source also indicates that iOS 4.3 will indeed support the new recurring subscription functionality needed for The Daily, with a possibility of more substantial cloud-based services coming at the same time.

With the rumored December 13th launch for iOS 4.3 less than three weeks away now, we have yet to see Apple seed any builds of the next version to developers, casting some doubt on whether Apple will be able to meet this goal.

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