Apple is preparing a range of improvements across its iOS devices, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV), and is currently testing a developer beta including these new features, including new languages for Siri:
iOS 9.3 adds multi-user support to iPads. While limited to the education market today it seems inevitable this will be extended to others in future. The feature means different users can log into their own account on an iPad in order to access their apps and data, which are downloaded once users log in. This is a significant move toward cloud-based access to data, which opens up even more potential as people become used to working with devices that way.
Lots of people (not least F.lux) will be looking at iOS 9.3’s new Night Shift feature, which adjusts the colors in your display toward the warmer end of the spectrum at night to reduce eye strain. The feature should help prevent sleep problems induced by using devices before bedtime.
The latest update lets you to secure Notes with a password or fingerprint.
Apple has also done something to make it easier to find the right Note, introducing the ability to sort entries by date created, date modified, or alphabetically.
Two key improvements in the Health app:
- The iPhone will now show move, exercise, stand and goal data gathered by Apple Watch.
- Health categories now offer a new slider menu that makes it easier to find and add new apps to the Health dashboard.
- It is unfortunate that an easy way to export this data hasn’t yet been created.
3D Touch additions
Apple has introduced support for 3D Touch shortcuts across more of its own applications, including Weather, Settings, Compass, Health, iTunes and the App Store. (Settings shortucts make it easy to access Wi-Fi or Bluetooth controls using 3D Touch, for example).
iCloud for iBooks now syncs PDFs.
You can duplicate images in Photos, including duplication of a Live Photo as a still image.
News improvements include improved recommendations, trending topics and Editor’s feeds, as well as support for landscape view and faster load.
Apple’s iOS/auto integration promise feels a little like hunting the unicorn butdoes now appear to be accelerating. CarPlay users gain access to the New and For You categories of Apple Music and information about nearby services in Maps. You don’t yet have a robot assistant to drive your car for you, but it seems pretty clear Apple’s working on that.
Apple’s focus on education remains. iOS 9.3’s Classroom is a digital teaching app teachers can use in class. This lets teachers launch apps on everybody’s screen, guide and teach students, and share student work through an Apple TV.
The Apple School Manager service links with existing school SIS systems to securely access key enrollment information. MDM enrollment, app and book distribution tools put a lot more power into Apple’s iOS education arsenal, building on concepts picked up wen it previously acquired PowerSchool.
You can launch appropriate apps from inside Wallet (airline apps from booking forms, for example).
Apple TV – keyboards
Apple listens to its users and the beta supports Bluetooth keyboards. That’s great, as until now searching for content on the tvOS was a pain, requiring letter-by-letter input using the Remote, though the recently updated Remote app offers a mobile keyboard option.
Apple TV – folders
The tvOS 9.2 beta also lets you file apps into folders and improves app management with new grids and menu items.
Apple TV — Podcasts
A Podcast app for Apple TV.
You’ll be able to sync iPhone to multiple Apple Watches – a convenience, given that product now dominates the smartwatch category.
Available to developers today, I expect iOS 9.3 to ship by the end of February.
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