Apple has released iOS 7.1, the latest version of the operating system that powers iPhones and iPads. It addition to fixing security vulnerabilities and other bugs, it bears several interesting new features.
iOS 7.1 formally introduces CarPlay, Apple’s new vehicular infotainment system for new cars in 2014. With CarPlay, Apple is making a play to be the de facto system for navigation through Apple Maps, music with iTunes and third party apps like Spotify, messaging and touch-less control through the Siri virtual assistant and phone calls.
CarPlay will be shipped in cars from Volvo, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes this year with partners like BMW, Chevrolet and Ford down the road.
Here are six other things you need to know about iOS 7.1.
The Siri virtual assistant has been improved to know when you stop talking. Hold down the Home button on your iPhone or iPad when speaking and release it so Siri stops listening. Basically, Apple has turned given Siri walkie-talkie capabilities. Certain languages and regions (Japanese, Mandarin, British English and Australian English) have more natural and easier to understand language.
Flat Gets Flatter
iOS 7.1 brings a couple design tweaks to the flat design that Apple first rolled out in iOS 7. Users can now switch between light and dark keyboards through the “Accessibility” settings. Several icons are more defined, such as the Message, Phone and FaceTime app icons. The “parallax” effect (where the screen moves in the background) can now be disabled or reduced.
New Camera Settings
iPhone 5S users get new settings in iOS 7.1. HDR (high dynamic range) will turn on automatically for iPhone 5S users. HDR basically makes the camera app take several pictures at different exposures and then composites them together to be a sharper final image. HDR was originally released with iOS 7 on the iPhone 5S and is not available to other iPhone models that don't carry the A7 processor.
Touch ID Improved
Many users have complained that the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5S does not work well after a couple months of use. This is partly a hardware problem but also a software issue. In iOS 7.1, Apple has improved the Touch ID software to be more accurate leading to quicker response times fewer rejections. Let us know in the comments if the update to Touch ID improves the performance on your iPhone 5S.
Improved Performance For iPhone 4
The oldest Apple device that can run iOS 7.1 is the iPhone 4. Many users complained that the iPhone 4 was basically unusable with iOS 7 and took Apple to task for basically turning their phones shiny bricks. In iOS 7.1, Apple promises improved performance for the iPhone 4 with better responsiveness.
Calendar Design Update
It may be a small token, but Apple did improve the way you see events in “Month View” in the calendar app to be more accessible and readable.
Have you downloaded iOS 7.1 yet? What changes do you see to Apple’s latest update? Let us know in the comments.