Apple introduces CarPlay, smarter Siri, bold font option, and more
Apple today unleashed iOS 7.1 to the masses, delivering a long list of features, tweaks, and fixes, including the widely reported CarPlay and new Siri capabilities.iOS 7.1 is available as an over-the-air (OTA) software update for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad customers featuring first and foremost CarPlay, the company’s all-new infotainment system debuted with partners Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo at the Geneva Motor Show.
Dubbed “iOS experience designed for the car,” the new CarPlay allows customers to connect their iPhone to a compatible vehicle and use apps like Phone, Music, Maps, Messages, and 3rd-party audio apps. With iOS 7.1, customers can control with Siri the car's touchscreen, knobs, and buttons.
Customers can now manually control when Siri listens by simply holding down the Home button while they speak and then releasing it when they're done. This is offered as an alternative to letting Siri automatically notice when the user stops talking, offering more flexibility to avid users of Apple’s personal assistant.
Siri gains new, more natural-sounding voices for Mandarin Chinese, UK English, Australian English, and Japanese, both male and female.
As far as iTunes Radio is concerned, there’s a new search field above Featured Stations that you can tap and use to create stations based on your favorite artist or song. Music lovers can buy albums with a tap from Now Playing and subscribe to iTunes Match to enjoy an ad-free iTunes Radio experience on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
Some improvements have been made to the Calendar app, of which Apple mentions an option to display events in month view, and country-specific holidays that are automatically added for countries around the world (the Cupertino giant doesn’t mention any specific ones).
New Accessibility options include a bold font option for keyboard, calculator, and many icon glyphs, the ability to reduce Motion (including for Weather, Messages, and Multitasking), and new options to display button shapes, darken app colors, and reduce white point.
Camera now offers the setting to automatically enable HDR for iPhone 5s owners, iCloud Keychain support in additional countries, and FaceTime call notifications are automatically cleared when the user answers a call elsewhere than their iPhone.
Some code corrections are also noted in the iOS 7.1 changelog, including a bug fix for occasional home screen crashes, improvements for Touch ID fingerprint recognition, improved performance for iPhone 4, fixes for Mail unread badge counts, and “continued user interface refinements,” according to Apple.