Apple Says iOS 11.3 to Add Battery Tool, More Animoji, Better AR
Jan 24, 2018, 9:11 AM by Eric M. Zeman
Apple today previewed iOS 11.3, a system update that will give iPhone owners with a significant number of new tools and features. First up, iOS 11.3 provides iPhone users with more control over their handset's battery performance. As promised, people will be able to asses the health of their iPhone's battery, for example, to see whether or not it needs to be replaced. The tool will also allow people to turn off Apple's power management function that is used to prevent battery shutdowns at the expense of speed. iOS 11.3 introduces four new animoji: a bear, lion, dragon, and skull, making for a total of 16. These will only be available to the iPhone X. Apple has updated its augmented reality developer tool, ARKit, to version 1.5. This gives developers even more power to create AR content. iOS 11.3 will improve augmented reality for iPhones by expanding the ability to map surfaces to include horizontal and vertical surfaces. This means AR apps will be able to place virtual objects on walls and doors, in addition to floors and tables. Apple says the iPhone's camera is now able to offer 50% greater resolution when shooting AR, and can take advantage of auto-focus for sharper results. iOS 11.3 adds a new tool to iMessage that will allow iPhone owners to chat with select businesses. Some early adopters include Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s, and Wells Fargo. Through this new business chat feature, people will be able to converse with service representatives, schedule appointments, and make purchases via Apple Pay. Apple didn't say if this tool is powered by bots. iOS 11.3 adds a new Health Records feature that will let health providers share patient health data in an easy-to-digest format. Patients will be able to collect their health records from their various institutions and view them in a single place on the iPhone. The health records support notifications for lab results, medications, conditions, and more. Apple says this data is encrypted and password-protected. Other features headed to iOS 11.3 include the addition of music videos to Apple Music, more video content within Apple News, software authentication for HomeKit devices, and support for Advanced Mobile Location so more accurate location data is made available to emergency services during 911 calls. Apple says iOS 11.3 will be available to developers later today, with the broad rollout expected later the spring.
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