iOS 5 beta 7 arrives

Apple this afternoon released yet another beta version of its iOS 5 software to developers, the seventh time it’s done so since offering a test version of the software in June.

Apple has said it will release iOS 5 to users as a free update this fall. The company typically seeds several beta versions of its major software releases to developers ahead of time to work out any bugs and give the developers time to integrate new features and APIs into their applications. This is just the latest in a long series of software releases leading up to the public availability.

The new version of iOS brings an overhaul of the notifications system, alongside a new messaging platform called iMessage that lets iOS users text and chat with one another free of charge. The software is also deeply tied to Apple’s upcoming iCloud service, which will be used to ferry photos, applications, and settings back and forth between iOS devices, as well as serve as a free backup solution.

Along with the new beta build of iOS 5, Apple released a new developer build of iTunes 10.5, its Apple TV software, and Xcode 4.2.

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