Apple releases iOS 7.1 with CarPlay support, performance improvements, UI tweaks, new accessibility options, more

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As we previously reported to expect in March, Apple has released its iOS 7.1 software update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users. The software update delivers a number of user interface tweaks and much needed bug improvements and dramatically faster animations and transitions. Changes include a dedicated list and tray view button in Calendar, power toggle and phone animation and shape changes throughout the system, and animation speed improvements. The update also includes additional features including an indicator in Camera used when auto flash will activate the light as well as a new auto HDR mode and an indicator when HDR will be activated. Siri now supports a “push-to-talk” option for better speech recognition and CarPlay support is noted in the release notes. Read more

How-to: Use AirDrop to share files between iOS devices [Poll]

Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 11.08.56 PMAirDrop can be a be a quick, simple way to transfer files between iOS devices. It can be especially handy because it is truly a device-to-device transfer that works even when neither device has internet access, although Wi-Fi  and Bluetooth have to be turned on for it to function. In this article I will discuss how to turn on AirDrop and use it to share files between devices.

In Apple apps, any files that can be transferred using the share icon can be sent via AirDrop. This includes photos, videos, iWork documents, notes, contacts, links, directions, and location data. Some third-party apps can also share data using AirDrop. AirDrop for mobile devices is a feature of iOS 7, and can only be used to share files between mobile devices, not between computers and mobile devices.

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Moga shows off its first Bluetooth Made-for-iPhone game controller ahead of official launch

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Moga, the company behind one of the first Made-for-iPhone game controllers, today announced that it will soon unveil its next controller for iOS devices. It also sent over the image above that gives us some clues about what to expect. Unlike the Moga Ace Power controller that we reviewed back in December, the new controller appears to utilize Apple’s non-form fitting controller design which essentially makes it closer to a standard Bluetooth controller. If you compare the design to Moga’s other Bluetooth controllers for mobile devices, it also looks like the middle of the controller might fold out to form a stand for iOS devices.  Read more

How-to: Enable and customize subtitles and captioning during video playback on iOS 7

Screenshot 2014-02-13 17.29.57iOS devices are built with all users in mind: they come with several accessibility features for low-vision or legally blind users, hard-of-hearing or deaf users, individuals who have physical and motor difficulties, and individuals with learning
difficulties.

In this accessibility segment, we will be discussing how to use and customize subtitles and captioning.

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Inside Apple’s MFi game controller program: Why the current crop of controllers aren’t up to snuff

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Apple’s new MFi game controller program offers a lot of promise for gaming on iOS— the top mobile gaming platform around could also soon be a serious platform for hardcore gamers. But the first crop of controllers have been met with much criticism from developers, reviewers and consumers alike. The consensus so far: flimsy buttons and joysticks, lack of support from developers, and a $99 price tag make them far overpriced compared to your standard Bluetooth game controller.

The launch for the first few controllers to hit the market was rushed, developers are disappointed and still trying to catch up, and manufacturers are limited in pricing, features, and quality due to Apple’s MFi program requirements. What does Apple have to do to overcome a rocky start to its game controller program which is supposed to control quality? And how are manufacturers limited by Apple in building better controllers at a fair price? We’ve dug into Apple’s MFi program and talked to developers and companies building the controllers to find out… Read more

Apple releases iOS 7.1 beta 3 to developers with UI tweaks, bug fixes, more

Apple released the third beta of its iOS 7.1 software (build 11D5127c) to registered developers today. Apple released the first iOS 7.1 beta for developers in November bringing with it a handful of UI tweaks, performance improvements, and accessibility features. That release was followed by a second iOS 7.1 beta in mid-December which brought button shapes as an accessibility feature as well as a calendar design mirroring iOS 6 and prior.

We’ll update you of changes as we come across them. Leave us a note in the comments or at tips@9to5mac.com if you find something interesting as well.

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SteelSeries announces the first MFi Bluetooth game controller for iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch

Today we get a look at the first Apple authorized Bluetooth game controller for iOS devices with the Stratus Wireless Controller announced today by SteelSeries.

We’ve already reviewed the first two Apple authorized game controllers to hit the market since it introduced its controller MFi program alongside iOS 7 earlier this year: Logitech’s PowerShell and Moga’s AcePower. Those two controllers used Apple’s form-fitting design, which lets an iOS device dock directly into a recess in the controller and connect via a built-in Lightning connector. The new controller from SteelSeries is the first standalone controller that connects to any iOS device over Bluetooth, which means it will also support iPads. It uses Apple’s extended layout, which gives you dual analog joysticks and an extra set of shoulder triggers on top of the d-pad, face buttons and single set of triggers on Apple’s standard layout.

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How-to: Create and sync keyboard shortcuts between iOS 7 and Mavericks

Keyboard shortcuts that allow for quick entry of longer strings of text were introduced with iOS 5. The feature allows users to enter a short bit of text and have it automatically converted to a longer message. Now with iOS 7 and Mavericks, keyboard shortcuts will sync between iOS devices and the Mac through the “Documents and Data” setting in iCloud.

In this how-to you’ll learn how to create and sync sync keyboard shortcuts in iOS 7 and Mavericks.

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Starbucks now supports redeeming Pick of the Week cards with iOS 7’s camera feature

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Starbucks, this week, updated their iconic Pick of the Week promotion to take advantage of iOS 7’s ability to use the device’s camera to redeem iTunes gift cards. Before that, customers had to pick up a physical card featuring a promo code to redeem the Pick of the Week app and manually type the code into the iTunes Store. Earlier this year, Starbucks began offering the promotion via an App Store app. The pick of the week promotion allows customers pickup cards from participating Starbucks locations and download an app or other piece of iTunes media for free:

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Cydia app for jailbroken devices updated with iOS 7 look and feel

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Jailbreaking may be for those who want the freedom to step outside of what Apple has decided iOS devices should do, but even jailbreakers are not immune to the influence of the company’s design guidelines, it seems.

The Cydia app, which allows users of jailbroken iPhones and iPads to install software not available on the App Store, has been updated with a flat look, bright colors and translucent overlays in line with iOS 7. This follows the surprise release of an iOS 7-compatible untethered jailbreak by the Evasi0n team.

There’s perhaps a small amount of rebellion in the fact that the app’s icon has not yet been updated to an iOS 7 look.

A thank-you for help with the new look was tweeted by @saurik. Video of the new app below the break …

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Yahoo Weather goes universal, brings same award-winning design to the iPad

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At WWDC, Yahoo received an Apple Design Award for Yahoo Weather. This coincided with the unveiling of iOS 7 and its Weather app, which displayed striking similarities to Yahoo’s effort.

With the latest update to the app, Yahoo has brought the same award-winning design to the iPad. The full-bleed imagery from Flickr really shines on a larger display. The layout for iPad is largely a port of the iPhone design with upgraded icons and assets but refinements have been made for the iPad where necessary. For example, forecast information can be much larger because of the additional real-estate.

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Updated report graphs Apple’s dedication to supporting older iPhones vs. Android

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We hear a lot about adoption of iOS updates vs the fragmentation that Android users are forced to deal with, but just how far behind are the top Android devices compared to iPhone when it comes to getting support? To answer that question, Fidlee.com has updated a chart that it first put together a couple years back in order to see if Android has become any better in recent years. It hasn’t.

In the chart above we see that many once flagship Android devices— the Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S3, LG G2 etc— have still not received the latest Android 4.4 KitKat update. Most of the devices on the list have been an upgrade or two behind since launch or not long after. In comparison, only the iPhone 3GS fives years after its release doesn’t support iOS 7. We also get a look at how much longer Apple devices generally stay available for sale and continue receiving support– nearly twice as long as Android in most cases.

Not only did Apple claim iOS 7 was “the fastest software upgrade in history” with more than 200 million devices installing the OS less than a week after launch, but analytics firms also noticed adoption was much higher than previous releases. Currently iOS 7 sits at about 77% of users, according to the latest data from Fiksu’s iOS Usage Monitor. While the chart above is only for devices released last year, things aren’t much better for newer Android devices. In comparison to iOS 7 adoption, Google reports that its latest release, Android 4.4 KitKat, is at just 1.1% weeks into launch. The previous release, Android 4.3, is at just 4.2%, while the majority of users remain on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean first released in July 2012.

A couple more charts below from Fidlee showing just how bad things are on Android: Read more