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Apple releases iOS 7.1 with CarPlay, Siri improvements

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Salvador Rodriguez

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On the go: iOS 7.1 adds support for CarPlay.

On the go: iOS 7.1 adds support for CarPlay.

Apple has released iOS 7.1, an update for the iPhone and iPad operating system that includes CarPlay and improvements to Siri.

Chief among the additions is CarPlay, Apple's car infotainment system announced last week. iPhone 5s, 5c and 5 owners with cars that support CarPlay will be able to use the feature.

The update also fixes a bug that has come to be known as the "black/white screen of death", which caused some Apple iOS devices to randomly crash and restart.

Siri gets new voices in iOS 7.1.

Siri gets new voices in iOS 7.1.

Apple has given users more control over how long Siri will listen to a user. Previously, users held down the home button to activate Siri, but now they can continue holding the home button until they are done speaking so Siri won't cut them off. Siri has also been given new, "more natural" voices in Australian English, UK English, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.

Design changes include darkening some colours and making it more obvious where to press buttons. The function for answering calls was also tweaked, and a list of events added to the month view in the Calendar app.

For owners of the iPhone 5s, Apple made some improvements to the TouchID fingerprint sensor so the device works more quickly and reliably. Some users had complained the fingerprint sensor often took multiple attempts to verify their identity.

iPhone 5s users also have a new camera setting that automatically enables HDR (high-dynamic-range) mode.

Additionally, Apple said the update will improve how iOS 7 performs on the iPhone 4 and older versions of the iPad. The software previously ran slowly on the iPhone 4, but the update should make it feel faster, Apple said.

Users will also no longer have to clear their FaceTime notifications from their gadgets when they answer a call on another device. Apple said these notifications will now clear automatically.

In September last year, Apple rolled out iOS 7the biggest overhaul of the mobile-operating system used by millions of iPhone and iPad owners. The system was revamped after design head Jony Ive took over from former software chief Scott Forstall in 2012.

To download iOS 7.1, users can head to their Settings app, tap "General" then "Software Update". They can also connect their devices to iTunes on their computer.

Los Angeles Times, Fairfax Media, Bloomberg

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