iOS 9.3 Update Overview
iOS release 9.3 was announced early January but no release date has been set. This update is a Quality-of-Life version of iOS, more than a developer-focused release. While we don't see many deep new opportunities for our customers, many of the features will make using iOS much better for users.
The first important feature to note is Night Shift. Similar to f.lux, Night Shift changes the screen's temperature in the evening. It takes advantage of the current time, user's location, and sunset time to adjust the display's settings. This will result in an easy-on-the-eyes experience late at night. Many Rocketeers have been using the OSX f.lux for years, and we're excited to see this incorporated into iOS 9.3.
Notes & TouchID
The built-in notes app got another significant upgrade in 9.3. In iOS 9.0, the notes app underwent some serious upgrades for network capabilities, images, lists, and more. In iOS 9.3, each note can independently be protected by TouchID. This gives us another example of "best practice" for using TouchID to protect sensitive user information.
The News app received more attention in surfacing articles to readers. For You will suggest trending topics and Editor’s Picks to help users find new favorites. News has also received an update to refresh stories faster, allow landscape view on iPhones, and play video straight from the news feed.
Health App Store
The HealthKit app is one of the less-utilized features of iOS, and yet has great promise. In iOS 9.3, apps that integrate with HealthKit have a custom store within the HealthKit dashboard. This should make it easier for customers to find health-related apps.
Car Play, Apple's vehicle dashboard integration system, was enhanced in 9.3. While this platform isn't yet available for broad development, we are finally seeing a significant number of vehicles adopting this system. Remember that AppleTV was once a closed platform; it's worth keeping your eyes on CarPlay for future opportunities.
The most interesting feature in the iOS 9.3 update is the one that rather few of our customers will see; 9.3 includes many features for enhancing the iPad's use in an educational setting. The most important of these is support for multiple users on a device. When this is viewed alongside the iPad Pro, and iOS 9's multitasking support on the iPad, it's not too big a stretch to see Apple looking to iOS as a desktop operating system in the not-too-distant future. While this doesn't affect our users right now, this could be the kind of change that makes a huge impact in the next two years.
In short, iOS 9.3 is focused on a better overall user experience. It does not focus on new features that should be implemented in apps. 9.3 will allow users to find apps and engage with their device more effectively.