Apple has been seeding beta versions of iOS 5.1 to developers for almost three months now. And the most recent version, beta 3, was released more than a month ago. Apple is expected to unveil the new software alongside its iPad 3 next month.

That being said, the folks over at BlogdoiPhone are claiming that they’ve managed to acquire a Pre-GM version of iOS 5.1. And among the new features they’ve discovered, is a new Lock Screen camera icon (pictured above)…

Introduced in iOS 5 last year, the Lock Screen camera icon can be activated on any device (with a camera) by double tapping the home button. This helps users quickly access their device’s camera, without the need for multiple taps.

BlogdoiPhone’s purported screenshot from iOS 5.1, however, shows a camera icon that is constantly present. And instead of a stationary image, it’s a slider. Sliding up on the icon appears to instantly reveal the Camera app. Cool.

The other big discovery in the new software is a Japanese language setting for Siri. We’ve been hearing reports that this would happen sooner, rather than later, so no surprise here.

We obviously can’t verify any of the above information/images, but for what it’s worth, Apple has been known to seed pre-release versions of iOS to carriers and other parties for testing prior to public rollouts.

PS, if the report does turn out to be false, can someone in the jailbreak community make the Lock Screen camera icon slider thing happen? Thanks.

[MacRumors]