To me, iOS 7.1 was a massive update, I was one of many keeping an eye on forums and Twitter waiting for the anticipated 7.1 update. It was 16.56 GMT and I was on the forums on MacRumours.com looking through various iOS 7.1 threads and suddenly I saw a screenshot someone had posted from Twitter (@iOSReleases was the username) showing that iOS 7.1 had been released.
I was a little surprised, for two reasons. Firstly, I thought, for some reason it would be released towards the end of March because of the deadline Apple have for the in-app purchase policy. I thought Apple would bundle all the changes, including the in-app purchase policy changes within iOS 7.1 before the deadline date, 31st of March. I’m not actually sure if the in-app purchase changes have been implemented into the update however.
Secondly, Apple normally release updates around 18.00 GMT and it was released 1 hour 4 minutes before. This is why we shouldn’t believe random people on the Internet who claim to know when Apple’s next update will drop. I think I’m right in saying that apart from Apple of course, phone carriers are sometimes told in advance when an update will be released (especially if it effects cellular). Apple will release an update when it’s ready and as we found out yesterday, it could be released anytime throughout the day.
It’s been a long testing period and there were a couple of rumours going around regarding when iOS 7.1 would be released. The first was that iOS 7.1 would be released mid-March and the other was made by a guy named John Gruber who apparently has very good sources within Apple. He stated that iOS 7.1 was required for the iTunes Festival application update. This wasn’t the case.
I have been waiting a long time for iOS 7.1 and although it’s only a point update, so far I’ve found that it’s a very good and solid update. Most users, including me, were complaining about the random springboard crashes which could happen when taking a picture, sending a message or even in the middle of a call. In the release notes, it’s noted that the random crashes have been fixed. I’ve only had it a few hours and so far I’ve had no crashes but I can’t really say much about this yet. We’ll see overtime.
Next, the animations. In iOS 7.0 animations were slow, and on iPad would lag at times. With iOS 7.1 installed however, they are faster, and in fact for me, they are just the right speed. They are also a lot smoother. Everything now, just seems quicker overall. In comparison though, it’s still a bit slower in performance than iOS 6 but it’s faster than iOS 7 which is good enough for me.
CarPlay is the biggest feature in iOS 7.1. CarPlay allows you to connect an iPhone to a CarPlay enabled vehicle and control the Phone, Music, Maps, Messages and 3rd-party audio apps via the dashboard within the car. Siri can also be used.
Other new features include a new call UI which has been criticised by some users as the full-screen contact photos have been removed and been replaced with small circular photos at the top-right of the screen. Also, a new screen has been added when turning off the device. Touch ID has also improved. It now reads your finger quicker. Previously, I had the same finger setup twice for better recognition, now, I’ve only got it setup once and so far, it’s been quick and hasn’t failed to read my fingerprint.
Next, a much-need feature added in the Calendar app. This was a feature within iOS 6 but when iOS 7 was first released, it was taken away. You can now display events in the month view. Why Apple removed this I don’t know but, it’s back and it’s a very handy feature.
Finally, a couple of new settings within the Accessibility settings. Button shapes have been added, when enabled, a border with a solid grey background is added around every button, this has been added so that it’s easier to identify buttons in iOS 7. Next, Reduce White Point. iOS is basically all-white and some users complained about this. Enabling this feature simply darkens the white colours within the whole OS while keeping all the other colours the same brightness. As a result, it’s easier on the eye. A lot of people have said that iOS 7 is too bright and white, enabling White Point will fix this issue, for some.
In conclusion, I am very happy with iOS 7.1. Yes, it took a long time, a very long time actually for a point update but Apple wanted to get it right, and they have. On my iPhone 5s, I’ve had no random crashes and the performance has improved a lot. The only feature I don’t like are the contact photos when someone calls you. They were full-screen, now, they are simply small circular photos at the top-right of the screen. Who knows, because of the criticism Apple may concede they were wrong and revert the changes. Because of the long gap from iOS 7.0 and iOS 7.1, I don’t think Apple will release iOS 7.2. We may see iOS 7.1.1. You know what this means don’t you? Next, we are all looking forward to iOS 8! Thanks for sticking with me as this post was a lot longer than I expected it would be!