On Wednesday, Apple announced that its latest iOS update — iOS 11.3 — will release later this year in Spring. The update brings a range of new and improved featured to iOS devices, from a new battery health monitoring system to power management tools.
In the announcement, which can be viewed online, Apple also promises major updates to ARKit, Messages and other apps. We’ve summed up some of the new features below to help users of iOS devices know whether or not it’s worth updating to 11.3 when it arrives.
Improvements to ARKit
One of the most exciting aspects of Apple’s announcement was the company’s commitment to improving ARKit — an augmented reality framework that was introduced with iOS 11.
By the numbers, iOS is the world’s largest, most widely used augmented reality platform, giving Apple and opportunity to expand its AR reach and improve the AR experience for hundreds of millions of worldwide users.
ARKit, which could previously recognize object surfaces such as tables and chairs, is now also capable of accurately mapping irregularly shaped surfaces and placing visual objects on vertical surfaces, such as walls and door.
Apple has also improved the field of view users can experience with AR, providing a 50% higher resolution and improved auto-focus.
New Animoji and More for Messages
Animoji — animated emoji characters — have caught on hugely over the past few years, and the latest iOS update brings an expanded range of them to iOS devices.
There are four new Animoji included in the iOS 11.3 update, ranging from a bear and lion to an eye-catching skull and animated dragon. iPhone X users can use more than 50 different facial muscle movements to produce vivid Animoji animations.
Apple will also add a new Business Chat feature to Messages, allowing users to communicate directly with a variety of brands. Early sign-ons include Hilton, Discover and Wells Fargo, all of which will offer direct service to customers through Messages.
Better Power Management and Battery Health
Apple received a huge amount of criticism last year when it was revealed that the tech company deliberately slowed down older iPhones to preserve their battery life.
Perhaps in response to this criticism, Apple’s latest iOS update includes several major features related to battery health and power consumption.
These include a new battery health feature, which can be found in the Settings-Battery menu, a battery service recommendation tool and a power management feature that optimizes battery power consumption and device performance.
Other iOS 11.3 Features
Other features included in the upcoming iOS 11.3 update include Health Records, which lets iOS device users view their medical data from a variety of providers. The tool is encrypted for data security and accessible using a passcode.
The 11.3 update also includes support for music videos in Apple Music, Advanced Mobile Location (AML) support for providing user location data to emergency services in specific countries, and new HomeKit software authentication features.