Apple just released iOS 7.1, a firmware update that brings the new CarPlay feature, among others, to compatible vehicles. I received an update notification on my iPhone last night. The file size varies but on my iPhone, it was a huge 214MB update.
iOS 7.1 also brings UI enhancements according to the change log but the addition of the CarPlay feature is the biggest new feature. CarPlay integrates iOS with a car in-dash stereo, with support for hands-free calls and texts and access to Siri. CarPlay also allows the use of Maps and other audio apps. CarPlay will come to some models from Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Ferrari. Other car brands are expected to offer this feature in future models.
The other major feature from iOS 7.1 is an update to Siri. Users can now manually control Siri by pressing and holding down the home button while giving a voice command. Siri now waits until the button is released before it starts working on the command. Previously, pauses are interpreted as the end of the command so the recent update finally fixes this issue.
The iOS 7.1 update is available for the iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5c and 5s, the iPad 2 or newer, the iPad mini and iPad mini 2 and the fifth-generation iPod touch.
Here is the list of new features of iOS 7.1.
- iOS experience designed for the car
- Simply connect your iPhone to a CarPlay enabled vehicle
- Supports Phone, Music, Maps, Messages, and 3rd-party audio apps
- Control with Siri and the car’s touchscreen, knobs, and buttons
- Manually control when Siri listens by holding down the home button while you speak and releasing it when you’re done as an alternative to letting Siri automatically notice when you stop talking
- New, more natural sounding male and female voices for Mandarin Chinese, UK English, Australian English, and Japanese
- Search field above Featured Stations to easily create stations based on your favorite artist or song
- Buy albums with the tap of a button from Now Playing
- Subscribe to iTunes Match on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to enjoy iTunes Radio ad-free
- Option to display events in month view
- Country specific holidays automatically added for many countries
- Bold font option now includes the keyboard, calculator, and many icon glyphs
- Reduce Motion option now includes Weather, Messages, and multitasking UI animations
- New options to display button shapes, darken app colors, and reduce white point
- New Camera setting to automatically enable HDR for iPhone 5s
- iCloud Keychain support in additional countries
- FaceTime call notifications are automatically cleared when you answer a call on another device
- Fixes a bug that could occasionally cause a home screen crash
- Improves Touch ID fingerprint recognition
- Improved performance for iPhone 4
- Fixes display of Mail unread badge for numbers greater than 10,000
- Continued user interface refinements