Apple releases iOS 8.1 with Apple Pay, Continuity features

Apple logoAs it promised at its iPad event last week, Apple has just released the iOS 8.1 update to the public. The update isn't as far-reaching as iOS 7.1, but it enables a number of previously announced features.

Chief among these is Apple Pay, Apple's new contactless payments system. For the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple Pay enables wireless NFC payments using credit cards scanned into Passbook. For those phones plus the new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, Apple Pay also enables in-app purchases using those stored credit cards—but without using the actual credit card information. The card data is instead stored locally on your device in a "Secure Element" and is never sent directly to Apple or to any vendors; randomly generated numbers are used instead to confirm each transaction.

Version 8.1 also completes the Continuity features Apple first announced at WWDC. Passthrough of SMS messages and the Personal Hotspot feature join Handoff, AirDrop, and phone call support to link iDevices and Macs running OS X Yosemite more closely to one another.

iOS 8.1

Smaller additions include the return of the Camera Roll and support for new iPads; iOS 8.1 reportedly makes the Apple TV into a sort of hub for the HomeKit framework, too. There's a whole pile of bug fixes, too, including but not limited to Wi-Fi performance issues, Bluetooth connection errors, several Accessibility fixes, problems playing videos in Safari, and more.

iOS 8.1 is available through iTunes or as an over-the-air update for all devices that can run iOS 8: the iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, and 6 Plus; all iPads aside from the first-generation model; the fifth-generation iPod Touch; and the third-generation Apple TV. The release has enough features that we'll spend some time on them and report back in more depth over the coming days.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Apple, iOS, OSes

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