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After weeks of speculation and rumors, iOS 7.1 is here at last — and still in time for SXSW as expected. The release marks the first major update to iOS 7 since its launch back in September. Along with the expected bug fixes and UI tweaks, the release also brings new features such as support for Apple's new CarPlay system.
Apple's official summary of the patch is that it "contains improvements and bug fixes," but that says little about all the goodies Apple managed to cram into the 268MB download. Slightly modified icons for the Phone, Messages, and FaceTime apps made their way into the patch, as well as redesigned dialer and shutdown screens and tweaked caps and shift lock keys.
Other additions abound, such as a manual setting for Siri that lets you hold the home button down to make the program listen or release it to make it stop listening. The update is also said to improve Touch ID recognition for the iPhone 5s and performance in general for iOS 7 on the iPhone 4. In short, if you've already downloaded iOS 7, this is the patch that should clear up a huge chunk of issues. If you've waited this long to upgrade, this should be the "stable" release you've been waiting for.
There are also some surprises hidden in the code, and it's likely we'll see more in the coming days. Specifically, MacRumors notes, iOS 7.1 includes support for iPad models that Apple hasn't announced yet. The models in question are labeled iPad 4,3 and iPad 4,6. These will likely be "minor hardware revisions for existing iPads," as a significant iPad upgrade would likely have a higher number.
The Apple TV also saw a significant patch today, as users can now easily hide channels on the device through the native interface. Much as with the iPhone or the iPad, all you need to do is hold select over a channel, wait for it to wobble, and then click "Hide this Item" in the menu box that pops up. If you change your mind, you can always reenable the channel through Settings.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.