Apple has seeded iOS 5 beta 3 to its devs. The third iOS 5 beta should mean that a final release is nearing: iOS 3 saw five betas before going final, and iOS 4 had four.
Early reports indicate that overall speed is much improved, the experience is less buggy, and you can now set custom text tones. It's also possible to disable voice and data roaming, which should be useful for anyone in areas with poor coverage.
The Assistive Touch features for iPad are also unlocked in beta 3. Assistive touch is for users whose fingers, for whatever reason, just won't cooperate with gesture control. It uses "hot corner" menus, accessed by tapping on designated corners, to allow you to access all of the iPad's functions. Screens can be found in the gallery below.
iOS 5 makes location based services much easier to understand, and it gives users finer controls over individual location features. 9to5mac also reports that Apple is more explicit in its intent to build a new mapping service based on crowd-sourcing.
The new beta does come with a few bugs: If you're using iOS 5 on your main device, you'll want to make sure that your contacts are staying up to date with their versions. iMessage in beta 3 won't communicate with beta 1 devices, though it works fine with beta 2. Custom ringtones appear to be bugged as well, with the default ringer playing no matter what you change it to.
Some of the more minor updates include the ability to create a new mailbox from the Mail app; a new advanced menu for Safari, along with the ability to clear cookies and data; and Music now has a 'Store' button to take you to the iTunes store. The Music app will also let new iOS 5 users know where the rest of your media went upon opening it.
iOS 5 Beta 3 is compatible with the iPad, iPad 2, both versions iPhone 4, iPod touch 3 and 4, and the Apple TV. iTunes 10.5 beta 3, Xcode 4.2 Preview 3, and Xcode 4.1 GM were also released. [9to5mac, Cult of Mac, MacRumors, ItsAllTech]