A couple days after the release of iOS 7.1 we’re starting to learn more about some of the improvements in the latest version of the iPad’s operating system.
One of these is a new ‘Manual Control’ method when using Siri – which is said to lead to faster and more accurate results when using it. This is easy to use. Instead of pressing and holding the Home button until Siri pops up and then releasing it, you continue to hold the button until you’re finished speaking.
I’ve tried this out a little this morning and Siri does respond a lot faster than before, and the accuracy does seem improved a bit as well.
I spotted this via Chris Meinck’s post over at everythingiCafe.
Have any of you tried this out with Siri yet? If so, what do you think of the results?
BBC Sport app now has an iPad version. The app has been available on iOS for over a year, but as of last week it’s a universal app with a full version for the iPad.
This is great news if you’re a fan of great sports coverage, and especially of coverage that goes beyond just major US sports. Here’s a little of the App Store description of the app:
The official BBC Sport app is the sports fan’s guide to live sport news, stats, fixtures and results, curated by the BBC’s team of sport journalists. Users can also read articles and analysis, follow live scores and even customise and set quick links to favourite sports and football teams.
The app’s layout is fairly similar to the look of the BBC online Sports section. There’s a home page with top sports stories from around the world and a large number of dedicated sections for individual sports.
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- from the Zagg web site -
Keyboard cases for tablets such as the iPad Air go a long way toward making your tablet feel like a laptop. Indeed, if you do a lot of text entry on your iPad, like writing this article, it is nearly essential. While a keyboard case adds a lot of functionality, it also comes with some inconveniences and compromises. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the Zagg Folio for the iPad Air, and in the process it should become obvious what to look for in a keyboard case in general.
The box that the Zagg Folio for the iPad Air comes in is extremely easy to open. Instead of difficult to open thick plastic or a glued-shut box, there is a flap that is held closed by a magnet. It is shockingly easy to open that flap and pull out the Zagg Folio. Apple is famous for their packaging, but they could learn a thing from Zagg here.
The Keyboard Feel
Zagg claims, and I believe them, that the Zagg Folio provides 30% more space for typing than similar products. These keys do not feel like a miniature keyboard and touch typing does not feel cramped. The keys are slightly closer together than a full-sized keyboard, but my hands and fingers like the experience. Indeed, typing on the Zagg Folio is an absolute pleasure.
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iOS 7.1 is out today and you can update your iPad by heading over to Settings -> General -> Software Update. This dot update marks the biggest and bug-fixinest improvement to iOS since the release of iOS 7 last year.
The major features you’ll likely notice immediately are:
- iOS animations are faster, which makes multitasking and returning to the home screen feel much more fluid on my iPad Air (this is a pretty big deal)
- Siri has been given an extra set set of less robotic voices for certain Mandarin, UK English, Australian English, and Japanese
- You can now tap-and-hold the Home button to bring up Siri, dictate your commands, and then release the Home button to signal that you’re done speaking (though you can still wait for Siri to automatically detect that you’re done talking)
- New dialogue and button designs (e.g. the new shut down screen, which you can see by holding the Sleep/Wake switch)
- General stability improvements. The 64-bit iPad Air is definitely more crash prone than my previous 1st-gen iPad mini, and discussions of the beta claim that 7.1 is much better, even at memory management
In my brief taste of the update thus far, Safari tabs do seem like they stay in memory longer than before. I can get to about six or seven tabs (news sites and blogs) before any one of them has to reload. It also feels like switching between apps is a hair faster than before, which does make a surprising difference.
The only headline feature of 7.1 that isn’t available on the iPad is Carplay, which improves hands-free and car control integration … but only on iPhone 5 and up, and then only on certain new 2014 car models.
The iTunes Festival app for iPad has been updated, to Version 5.0. This latest version has a refreshed design and is updated for 2014 and in particular for the festival at SXSW this year.
The update did not come alongside an iOS update (to 7.1) as was rumored last week, but it’s still very welcome.
The iTunes festival is here in Austin this year and the lineup is impressive as always. Acts include Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, London Grammar, Kendrick Lamar, Soundgarden, and Willie Nelson. And with this app you watch all of them live for free, Hard not to love that.
Here’s an App Store link for the iTunes Festival app; it’s a free app and a universal app designed to run on both iPad and iPhone.