iOS 7 teaser (iPhone 5s ad 003)

Following the release of iOS 7.1 beta 2 to developers last week, BGR is reporting that Apple has seeded a new build of the software update to carrier partners. It’s unclear when Apple will push the new beta to devs, but the site says a public release is still months away.

Citing a ‘trusted source,’ BGR’s Jonathan Geller reports that Apple plans to rollout iOS 7.1 in March of next year. That means we’re still a roughly 3 months out, and that the update would’ve been in testing for more than 4 months—a fairly long time for a ‘.1’ release…

Here’s Geller with the details:

“Apple has begun seeding a new build of iOS 7.1 to testing partners, we have learned from a trusted source. iOS 7.1 beta 3 is said to bring several important bug fixes in addition to some new features, though our source was uncomfortable detailing these for us at this time.”

It’s tough to gauge the likelihood of Geller’s report from previous .1 releases. Last year, Apple pushed out iOS 6.1 to the public in late January, but in 2012, 5.1 landed in early March. It’s also tough to gauge accuracy on BGR’s track record, which has been hit-or-miss.

iOS 7 Siri Car Integration

That being said, an extended testing period like this isn’t too unlikely for Apple, especially given how rushed iOS 7 was. Also keep in mind that 7.1 is expected to add a major new feature: iOS in the Car—something that Geller says could be playing a factor in the delay.

As the first major update to iOS 7, iOS 7.1 is believed to include bug fixes, performance improvements and some new features. But if Apple is really going to wait until March to release it, you have to wonder what else it’s working on. Perhaps new or refreshed hardware?