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iOS 7.1 is a major release and offers a litany of changes. First and foremost, iOS 7.1 is much faster than iOS 7. Everything is faster — launching apps, searching, scrolling, Safari, Settings and more. CarPlay functionality is included in this release. Siri has been improved with more natural sounding voices and the ability to control speech input by holding the home button, speaking, and then releasing the home button. The user doesn’t have to wait for Siri to detect the end of a statement, making for faster interaction.
There are several more minor improvements. iTunes Radio now has a search field above Featured Stations and faster access to music purchases. Calendar now displays events in the month view, as well as locale-specific international holidays. Touch ID fingerprint authentication has been improved, with a fix to the “fading” issue. For more information on all of the improvements, check out this page on Apple’s website.
Apple TV has a new update along with iOS 7.1. The new update allows for AirPlay connectivity over BlueTooth. In my initial testing, the update works well and doesn’t introduce any regressive bugs.
Worth Upgrading to iOS 7.1?
My experience with iOS 7.1 has been positive so far. I love the faster performance and changes to the user interface. Some users are reporting problems with Touch ID after upgrading to 7.1. This doesn’t seem to be a widespread problem, as commenters on these articles mention that Touch ID works fine for them. If you have an iPhone 5S and use Touch ID, you may want to wait. I also suggest anyone who uses their iOS device for mission critical endeavors to hold off until more is known about this new release. If you are on call at the nuclear power plant, you might want to wait to upgrade. There will most likely be a 7.1.1 update to fix any bugs. iOS 7.1 is a major release — the biggest since iOS 7 was launched.
I expect to hear complaints about battery life issues, as they accompany every release. These only occur for a fraction of users. I suspect they are upgrading their device after using it for several hours, then leaving it in a case and plugging it in a charger. Heat is the enemy of lithium-ion batteries. I charged my iPhone to 100%, unplugged it and ran the update. I even put it on a metal table to dissipate heat. Even then, I noticed it was warmer than usual after the upgrade. It’s wasn’t hot, just luke warm, however, my iPhone usually gives off no heat whatsoever. Just make sure to do the upgrade after your device is charged. If you just played Infinity Blade for 5 hours straight, let it cool down before you upgrade. Read this article for more battery life tips. When you are done upgrading, make sure to calibrate the battery.
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