Apple has released a new update to iOS and version 7.1 adds some new features and updates a bunch of existing ones. If you haven't already installed this update for your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings, General, Software Update and grab yourself a copy. Not only does it add features, Apple says it is faster on older hardware like the iPhone 4, which is welcome.
CarPlay fills the screen at the Apple website where the company shows off the latest features in iOS 7.1. THis technology will be built into cars and it works with your iPhone to make accessing functions like playing music, getting maps and directions and using Siri much easier. You can activate Siri for example, without taking your hands off the steering wheel. Check out Apple's CarPlay page.
CarPlay looks nice, although it will be years before it is on any car that I own. I got a car last year and plan to keep it five years, so it'll be 2018 before I change it. Even then there's no guarantee that CarPlay will be in any of the cheap cars I buy. CarPlay is the biggest feature addition to iOS that you'll never use.
Siri has been tweaked and now you can hold down the home button to speak and it stops listening when you take your finger off. It's push to speak. It has better UK, Australian, Chinese and Japanese voices.
iTunes Radio has a search field above Features Stations to create stations based on your favourite artist or song. Not that I know anything about iTunes Radio, because it is a US feature that isn't available in the rest of the world and here in the UK it still isn't on our iPhones or iPads. There is no news as to when it will be available.
Some features we can actually actually use in iOS 7 are in the accessibility settings. More apps support reduced motion and bold text. Turn on Bold Text in Settings, General, Accessibility and even the keyboard keys are now bold. Go to Increase Contrast and there are options to Darken Colors and Reduce White Point. A new Button Shapes option brings back buttons to iOS 7.1 after they were taken out in iOS 7.0. Turn on Button Shapes and button backgrounds are grey, making them stand out.
There is also Hearing Aid Mode, which enhances the audio for Bluetooth hearing aids. I read a rumour once that Apple's next big thing will be a hearing aid. Perhaps this is getting iOS ready for it. You never know, it's a big market.
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Published: 10 March 2014