Apple has finally announced a new version of iOS tagged iOS 9.3 preview. The firmware update that is now available for iPhones, iPads and iPods as a beta, adds a few new features, updates existing apps and implements some new workarounds, that many of its users will find useful.
Firstly, we have some new features. These include a new display mode called Night Shift, that reduces the blue light coming from your display. According to research, it is the same blue light that many device makers are getting rid off in their respective ‘night modes’ since it has often been blamed to affect circadian rhythms that disturb a user’s sleep cycle. Apple’s take however is a bit different and takes things a bit further, with the display automatically deciding when to switch off the blue light by using your iOS device’s clock and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset in your location. The same can be adjusted manually as well.
The next interesting new feature is security for the Notes app, that is now available in the form of a password or fingerprint. Notes can now be sorted by date modified, date created or even alphabetically if needed. Keeping notes in the Notes app private indeed goes a long way and certainly adds more value for users who currently use third-party note taking apps like Evernote (offers fingerprint security with paid subscriptions). Touch ID support adds a much needed layer of security and certainly makes the app handy, making it a worthy core feature.
The News app that is not available in India for now also sees improvements in the form of feeds or articles that are better tailored to a user’s interests. The iPhone app gets a landscape mode and in general will draw the latest stories faster.
The much-loved Health app gets a redesign in terms of how data is displayed. The app now displays a user’s move, exercise, and stand data, will also track their goals, provided they own an Apple Watch. More importantly, the Health app now delivers better access of health data to third-party apps.
CarPlay with iOS 9.3 also gets a couple of new features. New and For You section will now suggest songs handpicked by experts or add music to your playlist based on user preferences.
Apple also placed a majority of the new iOS 9.3 beta’s focus on education with the introduction of a new Classroom app. The new app allows teachers to guide and keep track of students through a lesson and even keep a tab on their progress. Apart from the new app, Apple also added a Shared iPad feature for situations where the student to iPad ratio was below 1:1. Also added, was an Apple School Manager feature that gives complete access and control to admins, and the ability to create and manage student and teacher IDs if they are hooked up to the Classroom app.
In terms of improvements, Apple has added plenty of them, but the major ones include new Touch ID shortcuts for native apps like Weather, Settings, Compass, Health, App Store and the iTunes Store, additional language support for Siri and other bug fixes.
Before you head to the beta website and install the same, it is wise to note that betas (both public and developer) come with their fair share of bugs. So proceed only if you are ok with using a buggy iOS 9.3 with plenty of glitches. Else it is wise to use the same on a test device, rather than your daily driver if you simply want to try it out.