The countdown to iOS 5’s release has begun, with Apple now bringing its most valued and prominent carrier partners into the testing phase for the first time.

Carriers have now begun testing the latest build of iOS 5 internally, with reports suggesting that this build is a newer one than the beta 7 version being currently tested by developers…

A tipster for 9to5Mac also claims that the build currently in the hands of carriers has a few surprises up its sleeve, and FaceTime over 3G is one of them..

FaceTime has failed to gain traction among iPhone-toting members of the public, and its WiFi-only operation is one of the reasons why. Testers have been told that FaceTime over 3G is a top priority for Apple, but whether it will find its way into the final release of iOS 5 remains to be seen. It’s entirely possible carriers will decide the feature uses too much data – a struggle Apple has had since day-one with AT&T and its failing network.

Nuance’s speech-to-text feature is also in full effect in the carriers’ release of iOS 5, and is almost guaranteed to find its way into the final launch version. Reports from those testing the software support the assumptions that Apple’s implementation will mimic that of Google’s Android, but with Apple’s usual spit and polish applied for good measure.

Apple’s carrier partners are now briefing their teams and offering training on the new features found in iOS 5, as well as the additional features brought by iCloud. Apple sees iCloud and iOS 5 as a two interlocking strategies, and carriers appear to agree.

With carriers now testing iOS 5, it’s safe to say Apple is looking good for its claimed September release, and we expect to see a final beta or release candidate to be seeded to developers soon.

  • Mathieu R.

    Finally something real.

    Thanks for this info IDB.

    • Of course 🙂

    • Josh

      +1 Finally indeed.

  • babiloe

    The death of 4.3.3 ipad2 Durango baseband Begin to chimey in..
    I hope iOS 5 has same baseband as 4.3.3. Please apple

    • James

      I doubt it, the betas have different basebands on the iPhone to that of 4.3.3

    • Dylan

      Use sn0wbreeze if that’s a big problem for u

  • It’s about time Apple woke up and smelled the Espresso!

    Well…. That is with regards to their Facetime product!

    I was really Jazzed when I first got our iPhones (one for me and one for my wife). I believe one of the very first things we did was call using Facetime! Very clear, convenient and well…. COOLLLLL!!!!

    But, then…. We made the mistake of leaving our WiFi zone and Hell Fire!!!! The Damn thing would not work on 3G!!!! WTF!!!! Ummmm….. WTF!!!!!

    So, hopefully iOS 5 resolves this STUPID “oversight”, after all SKYPE and FRING work just fine with the 3G.

    The ONLY thing that would make Facetime better than SKYPE and FRING at this point is to have an automatic switching feature so you can easily and seamlessly DURING A CONVERSATION jump from WiFi to 3G.

    So, for example, when I’m home, on Wifi and in a “call” I can then take the dogs for a walk and have the phone AUTOMATICALLY switch to 3G…. Ahhh, that would be most EXCELLENT!

    – Eric

    • Ok

      At Eric ….everything you said my jailbroken iphone4 can do.

      • Frank

        proof or isnt true! 🙂

  • Kar

    When is it coming out!?

    • Jmarsh5

      Probably should have researched the iPhone 4 before buying it. That has been a deterrent for buyers since day 1. That more your fault then Apples, they made it pretty clear.

  • TheHero

    Do you know which carriers are testing it? Just AT&T and Verizon or also Sprint and T-mobile?

    • Jmarsh5

      I’ve heard all 4. Would be huge for Apple to finally get it on all carriers, talk about extra sales.

  • J-

    3G FaceTime is going to slaughter AT&T’s network.

  • Sam

    Does anyone know if iOS 5 is released at the same time as the iPhone5/iPhone4S or before release of the phone?

  • Concerned Citizen

    When I read this news, i just realized that it is already September… LOL!!!