Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), on Monday, released the new iOS 7.1 firmware, the most significant update to the iOS 7 platform since its launch last September.
The update, identified as build 11D167, includes improvements to the Touch ID fingerprint scanner that is built in to the iPhone 5s, important tweaks to the new user interface, fixes for some lingering bugs, and the new CarPlay support that was announced by Apple last week. The company also has launched a new dedicated web page, showing off some of the key features and improvements included in iOS 7.1 update.
iOS 7.1 also comes with a new manual setting for Siri, which needs users to hold the home button on their device allowing the system to listen to their command. Users can release the home button when they are done speaking, as opposed to having Siri automatically detect when a user has finished speaking.
The new firmware update incorporates multiple UI tweaks, including redesigned shift and caps lock keys, revamped icons for the Phone, FaceTime and Messages apps, and a redesign for many aspects of the Phone dialer and shutdown screen. In addition, iOS 7.1 also fixes a home-screen crashing issue, which resulted in random restarts.
The new CarPlay feature enables users to connect their iPhone to a CarPlay-enabled vehicle. It supports Phone, Music, Maps, Messages and third-party audio apps. The iOS 7.1 update also allows users to subscribe to iTunes Match on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to listen to iTunes Radio without being interrupted by commercials.
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Some other additional tidbits include new camera settings to automatically enable HDR for iPhone 5s, iCloud Keychain support in additional countries, and new options to display button shapes, darken app colors and reduce white point, among others
Click here for the full release notes from Apple.
Here is a video, showing what is new in iOS 7.1:
3 More Things To Know About iOS 7.1
In addition to features and improvements, there are some other aspects of the new iOS 7.1 firmware update that users should be aware of.
Some Features May Not Be Available In Your Country: According to Apple, some iOS 7 features are not currently available in every country. For instance, the new CarPlay feature is currently available in 13 markets only, including the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Korea and some European countries.
Similarly, the key improvements to Siri that add new features like movie reviews, info and show times, are also not ready for the public in certain regions. To see which features of the new iOS 7.1 is available in your country or region, click here.
Snappier iPhone 4: After the iPhone 4 received the iOS 7 update last year -- the oldest iPhone model to be supported by the OS -- many users found their devices to be slow and unresponsive.
With the release of the iOS 7.1, Apple apparently improved the experience of iPhone 4 on iOS 7 for its users. According to Ars Technica, the new firmware brings “a measurable improvement” across many native apps, including the speed at which they open from the home screen. Check out the charts here:
Ars Technica also noted that iOS 7.1 could be the last major iOS update for the iPhone 4, given the fact that Apple typically removes support for the last generation of iPhones when it releases a new version of iOS each year.
Clues To Two New iPad Models: Along with the new changes to the platform, the iOS 7.1 update also brought support for two new unannounced iPad models -- the iPad4,3 and the iPad 4,6.
The Wi-Fi version of the iPad mini with Retina display has the code name iPad4,4 while the cellular version of the device has the designation iPad4,5. On the other hand, the iPad Air models are identified as iPad4,1 (Wi-Fi only) and iPad4,2 (cellular).
According to reports, the new iPad models likely represent hardware revisions for existing iPads, rather than all-new products.
Coming back to iOS 7.1, here are direct download links to the latest iOS build, specific to particular devices.
iPad: iPad Air (5th generation WiFi + Cellular), iPad Air (5th generation WiFi), iPad (4th generation CDMA), iPad (4th generation GSM), iPad (4th generation WiFi), iPad mini (CDMA), iPad mini (GSM), iPad mini (WiFi), iPad mini 2 (WiFi + Cellular), iPad mini 2 (WiFi), iPad 3 Wi-Fi (3rd generation), iPad 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular (model for ATT), iPad 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular (model for Verizon), iPad 2 Wi-Fi (Rev A), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G (GSM) and iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G (CDMA).
iPod touch: iPod touch (5th generation)