March 11, 2014
Apple Releases iOS 7.1 With CarPlay, Siri Updates
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Apple released its long-awaited iOS 7.1 update on Monday, adding several new features, design tweaks to its user interface and 41 bug fixes to the popular mobile operating system.The update, identified as build 11D167, is compatible with iPhone 4 and later smartphones, iPad 2 and later tablets, and 5th generation iPod touch devices.
Among the user interface improvements are visual changes to the phone dialer and power-off features along with a minor music app update that makes the repeat and shuffle icons easier to see. The update also includes refinements to the keyboard interface that make the shift and delete keys more prominent.
Perhaps the most noticeable design tweak in iOS 7.1 is an enhancement to the Notification Center that allows users to more accurately clear notifications.
The software also adds a number of new features, including CarPlay, previously known as iOS in the Car, which supports calling (iPhone), music, maps, messaging and user control of certain functions via the Siri voice-activated assistant.
iOS 7.1 also changes how Siri operates, allowing the digital assistant to listen for longer periods of time when a user holds down the home button in a push-to-talk fashion. This will prevent Siri from cutting off or pausing a voice query or command.
Natural-sounding voices for UK English, Australian English, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese have also been added.
The new calendar features include an option to display events in month-view, along with the addition of many country-specific holidays.
The iTunes radio feature has been updated to give users the ability to subscribe to iTunes Match directly from their device, allowing for ad-free iTunes Radio, as well as purchase albums over-the-air with the touch of a button from "Now Playing.” A new search field above the “Featured Stations” allows users to easily create stations based on their favorite artist or song.
Accessibility improvements include a bold font option for the keyboard, calculator and many icon glyphs, along with a parallax motion feature that includes Weather, Messages, and multitasking user interface animations.
The Touch ID feature has also been enhanced to improve fingerprint recognition, while new camera settings for the iPhone 5s allow users to automatically enable HDR mode.
Users of iOS 7 and older versions can upgrade their compatible devices over-the-air by selecting "Software Update" in the "General" section of their device's settings. Those unable to download over-the-air can connect their devices to iTunes, and select the "Check for Upgrade" option in their device's summary window.