iOS 11.3 ~ The update we need?

Apple have just released iOS 11.3 beta 4 to developers and it’s fast approaching public release, it’s been 5 months since iOS 11 came out and it hasn’t been smooth sailing.

So many issues have come out of iOS 11, from certain symbols crashing apps, battery drains, reboots and lag, so much lag… It’s caused Apple to release a shocking 11 minor update fixes since release last September.

That’s unheard of for Apple and it’s very frustrating for the public, it’s slightly tarnished the image a little after so many years of solid updates. The big mid cycle release is 11.3 and it brings some new features and hopefully a lot more fixes.

Animoji

First up is the new Animoji added in 11.3, this time we get a dragon, bear, skull and lion for a total of 16 different characters to choose from now. I don’t find this the most interesting update of all time but I’m sure some iPhone X users will appreciate it.

animoji-ios-11-3

Health

The new Health Records feature brings together hospitals, clinics and the existing Health app to make it easy for users to see their available medical data from multiple providers, whenever they choose. Patients from participating medical institutions will have information from various institutions organised into one view and receive regular notifications for their lab results, medications, conditions and more. Health Records data is encrypted and protected with a pass code.

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The Health Records feature makes it easier for people to access and control of all of their health records and data.

Business

Another new feature is business chat, this a new way for users to communicate directly with businesses right within Messages. This feature will launch with the support of select businesses including Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo in the U.S.

It’s a similar feature seen in Facebook Messenger but with the added benefit of scheduling an appointment or making purchases using Apple Pay in the Messages app. Business Chat doesn’t share the user’s contact information with businesses and gives users the ability to stop chatting at any time.

It’s not known which businesses outside the U.S have signed up for this feature and what other nations will get business chat just yet.

business-chat
Business Chat lets users communicate directly with businesses within the Messages app.

Batteries and Performance

A lot was made about Apple throttling older iPhones with updates to maintain performance and battery, the media went crazy about this because it was done in secret without the user’s knowledge.

The new Battery Health setting offers details on maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability, and for devices with degraded batteries, it provides information on if and when a device is being throttled with performance management features. It also provides a way for customers who do have a device with a degraded battery to turn off performance management all together.

The OCD part of me doesn’t want to know how degraded my battery is but I like that they’ve added this feature, hopefully users will now see the difference in performance and if it’s time to make the upgrade instead of relying on a “genius” in the Apple store.

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The new Battery Health setting.

Additional iOS 11.3 Features:

  • ARKit 1.5 can recognize and place virtual objects on vertical surfaces and it can more accurately map irregularly shaped surfaces like circular tables. ARKit is able to recognize the position of 2D images like signs, posters, and artwork, integrating them into AR experiences. Museums, for example, can be filled with interactive exhibits or a movie poster can be brought to life. The real-world view through the camera when using AR also offers 50 percent greater resolution (1080p) in ARKit 1.5 and supports auto-focus.
  • Apple Music will soon be the home for music videos. Users can stream all the music videos they want without being interrupted by ads. They can also watch the hottest new videos, the classics or ones from their favourite artists back-to-back in new music video playlists.
  • Support for Advanced Mobile Location (AML) to automatically send a user’s current location when making a call to emergency services in countries where AML is supported.

There will be some fixes and improvements all over iOS 11 with this update, it’s much-needed. Can this fix everything? I don’t know but rumours are beginning to spread about iOS 12 being a major under the hood upgrade instead of a design change to fix more issues.

This is troubling and slightly frustrating as iOS is very stale right now with no design overhaul since iOS 7 and the home screen hasn’t changed since iOS began. 

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