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The free update will be available through iTunes for the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, first-generation iPad, fourth-generation iPod touch, and third-generation iPod touch. The launch date was announced on Tuesday by Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iOS Software.
Forstall also gave a rundown of 10 of the biggest features of iOS 5, including notifications, Newsstand, PC-free setup, wireless syncing, and fast access to the Camera application from the lock screen.
Though the initial install of iOS 5 must be done as with previous versions of the software, through iTunes, the fifth iteration of the mobile operating system will allow for PC-free operation in the future. That means that users will be able to download updates wirelessly, directly to their device, without the need to connect via USB to a Mac or PC.
Apple first unveiled iOS 5 this June at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. Tuesday's announcement of the Oct. 12 launch is the first time Apple has offered a concrete release date for the software, as previously it was promised to simply arrive in the fall.
AppleInsider exclusively reported in September that Apple had blacked out employee vacations from Octtober 9th through 12th specifically for the iOS 5 release. Sources also provided a second batch of dates, October 14th through 15th, accurately telegraphing the iPhone 4S launch date.