After many beta builds, Apple has finally released iOS 7.1 to the public. It includes bug fixes for the old iOS 7.0.6, along with UI enhancements and even some new features.
If you haven't gotten around to playing with iOS 7.1 yet, here are a few of the new features and improvements to look forward to.
The biggest feature added to iOS 7 is definitely CarPlay, which lets you use your iPhone on your car's built-in display (if you have one), making it safe to find directions, send and receive calls and text messages, control your music, and more.
Currently only available for later 2014 models of Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo, CarPlay will support many built-in Apple features as well as third-party apps such as Spotify, Beats Music, and more.
Apple has scrapped the rectangular call and end buttons for circular ones—matching the numbers and other options in the phone dialer. There's also less obtrusive "Remind Me" and "Message" buttons.
The icons when powering off your device are also rounded.
In addition to more a natural sounding Siri with enhanced English (Australia, United Kingdom), Chinese (Mandarin - China), and Japanese voices, you now have manual control over Siri's listening.
All you have to do is hold down the Home button while you speak and release it when you're done, instead of having Siri determine when you finish talking. It's much more efficient, if you don't mind the extra button holding, but you can do it either way now.
iTunes Radio has had a few UI changes, including the much-needed search field above Featured Stations, making it easy to create stations from your preferred artists or songs. From the Now Playing page, you can also purchase the song, as well as the album from which the song comes.
If you subscribe to iTunes Match on your iOS device, you can enjoy iTunes Radio without advertisements.
One feature in iOS 7.1 that has been slightly overlooked is the ability to shuffle songs by genre, allowing us to play similar music without having to create a hip-hop or indie rock playlist.
Annoying to many, previous versions of iOS 7 automatically zoomed in on custom wallpapers due to the parallax effect. Thankfully this issue has been (sorta) fixed in the final version of iOS 7.1—just set your wallpaper and toggle "Perspective Zoom" on or off.
There will still be a slight zoom effect on the lock screen when you turn your screen on and off, but it's still better control over the zooming problem when actually setting the wallpaper.
The Shift and Delete keys have both been redesigned. They are both black now with a white background to show that they're enabled.
Unfortunately, they did not include the dark keyboard version from older iOS 7.1 betas. Maybe next time.
A small yellow indicator now appears at the bottom of the screen, letting us know whether or not automatic flash or automatic HDR (only for iPhone 5S) is on or off before we take a shot.
There's now an option to show button shapes in the Accessibility menu in Settings, and the bold option for text now applies to the calculator, keyboard, and many other icon fonts. Plus, there's new options in the "Increase Contrast" menu to let you darken app colors and reduce the white point.
Apple also added Weather, Messages, and some multitasking animations to the list of things you can "Reduce Motion" for in the Accessibility options.
A button to toggle list view in the Calendar app now appears, making events of that day, week, and month appear much more easily. You'll also notice that many holidays have been added, all specific to what country you live in.
Aside from the above features, Apple has added iCloud Keychain support for more countries, fixed the home screen crash bug, and fixed an issue with numbers higher than 10,000 in the badge app icon for Mail. Also, FaceTime call notifications are all automatically cleared now when the call is answered on another device.
More device specific, iOS 7.1 improves fingerprint recognition for the iPhone 5S and overall performance on the iPhone 4.
All in all, the improvements have made the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch a bit easier to use, as well as slightly quicker. While some may be disappointed with the lack of new features, iOS 7.1 was meant more as a big fixer and polisher for the interface.
So what do you guys think about it? Hate it? Love it? Don't care?
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