Apple on Monday released iOS 7.1, the first update to add new features since the introduction of iOS 7 last year. The update adds support for CarPlay, tweaks the user interface and animations to bring uniformity in design.
The most noticeable change visually is the “Phone” app which the company has refined to match the overall flat design. A new list button has also been added to the calendar app to display the events of a particular date in a list format. Siri can listen to you as long as you want before processing the voice data.
This update also adds support for recently announced CarPlay feature. It will work with the supported car models that integrate with Apple’s CarPlay technology. Apple is marketing this new feature as a “smarter, safer way to use your iPhone in the car”. It can be accessed using voice, touch screens and even knobs. The entire interface is simplified to give access to only the Phone, Messages, Maps and Music apps. Currently only iHeartRadio, Spotify and Stitcher services are supported as alternatives to iTunes radio.
Other tweaks include snappier animations and improved performance for iPhone 4. The users of iPhone 4 had noticed significant issues with the device lagging while performing simple tasks after iOS 7 update. Apple has now addressed these concerns with the latest iOS 7.1 update.
Apple has also added more control over transparency, animations, perspective zoom and parallax effect under accessibility settings. Many users had reported “motion sickness” after using iOS 7 for a while. The new update also adds option to enable “Button Shapes” to give “text” buttons some form and make it easily recognisable.
Another nice improvement in iOS 7.1 is the support for HFP prompts in Maps. This adds the ability to have the navigation prompts to play over your car speakers even when iPhone is not selected as the audio source.
Overall, iOS 7.1 brings simple improvements but refines the operating system. This may be the last update before the introduction of iOS 8, Apple’s next major software update for its mobile devices.