Apple Seeds Third Beta of iOS 9.3 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming iOS 9.3 update to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the second iOS 9.3 beta and two months after the public release of iOS 9.2. iOS 9.3 has been in testing since January 11.

The third iOS 9.3 beta is available as an over-the-air update and through the iOS section of the Apple Developer Center.

As a major .1 update to the iOS 9 operating system, iOS 9.3 introduces several new features. There’s a Night Shift mode to reduce the amount of blue light iOS users are exposed to in the evening by shifting the iPad or iPhone display to a warmer (yellower) color spectrum, and there are several features designed to improve the iPad for Education program, such as multi-user login.

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Multiple apps and features are also seeing updates in iOS 9.3. Apple News includes more personalized recommendations, faster updates, a landscape view on the iPhone, and support for in-line video, while Health includes a new Apple Watch-style „Activity“ view and Notes has an option to password protect individual entries.

Apple Music for CarPlay offers „New“ and „For You“ sections for better music discovery, and a Nearby Feature in CarPlay Maps offers more information about what’s close by. Paired with watchOS 2.2, an iPhone running iOS 9.3 is able to support multiple Apple Watches, and for iPhone 6s users, there are new Quick Actions for Weather, Settings, Compass, Health, App Store, and iTunes Store.

The second iOS 9.3 beta added a Control Center toggle for the Night Shift feature, and new additions in the third iOS 9.3 beta will be listed below.

What’s new in iOS 9.3 beta 3:

Verizon Wi-Fi calling – The third beta of iOS 9.3 adds Wi-Fi calling for Verizon users, allowing them to place calls over a wireless connection when cellular connectivity is poor.

T-Mobile bug fix – Today’s beta includes a carrier update for T-Mobile users, fixing a bug that prevented apps from loading over a cellular connection.

Related Roundup: iOS 9
Tag: iOS 9.3
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iOS 9.3 brings all-new 3D Touch shortcuts

3D Touch gets a big boost in iOS 9.3, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. On top of the various other “what to expect” features we’ve told you about, the iOS update, which arrived yesterday, also adds a host of new shortcuts you can use from the home screen for all standard pre-installed apps. […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Microsoft Launches Official ‘Cortana’ App for iOS and Android Devices

Microsoft today officially launched its virtual assistant Cortana as a downloadable app for iOS and Android platforms (via Business Insider). Similar to Apple’s Siri personal assistant, Cortana allows Windows users to set reminders, preview the weather, and answer basic questions thanks to integrated internet search abilities. Other Cortana for iOS and Android features include the following:

•Set and get location and time reminders across your PC and phone.

•Track packages, flights, scores, stocks, and other important info across your PC and phone.

•Use Cortana’s Notebook to view, edit and manage your interests

•Get information and answers to all kinds of questions. If you’re looking for it, Cortana can help find it.

•Have a little fun in your down time — ask anything, get jokes, and much more.

Microsoft detailed a few features for Cortana at Business Insider‘s Ignition Conference in New York City, including abilities like asking Cortana for help with your voice without having to open up the app. Unfortunately, most of those features won’t be available to iOS users due to certain developer restrictions that fence off Cortana from becoming fully integrated into iOS.

On the other hand, a few Android smartphones will gain a leg up on the iOS version of Cortana thanks to a partnership between Microsoft and start-up company Cyanogen, which runs a custom version of the OS on select Android devices. With Cyanogen software, Android users will have essentially all of the abilities Windows Phone users have over Cortana, including being able to speak to the personal assistant without opening up the separate app.

After some rumors and speculation earlier in the year, in May Microsoft confirmed that Cortana would be heading to non-Windows Phone platforms later this year. In November, the company opened up beta sign-ups for users to test out Cortana for iOS in a pre-release state.

Cortana for iOS is available to download now for free from the App Store [Direct Link].

Tags: Microsoft, Cortana
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Who’s Down, Lumino City, and other awesome apps of the week

How does this happen? Already the weekend is halfway over, but — don’t worry — before Monday hits, we’ve got some great app suggestions for you. Whether you’re looking for a fun socializing app, or a zanily original iOS puzzle game, we’re certain that we’ve got what you’re looking for. Check out our list below. […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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‘The Weather Channel’ App for iPhone Gains Revamped Design, 3D Touch Support

The Weather Company is introducing a major update for its The Weather Channel iPhone app today, introducing a new visual design, longer-range weather forecasts, user-tailored weather updates, and support for 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus.

When opening The Weather Channel app, users will be greeted with a personalized dynamic home screen that offers up custom weather information that’s based on user location. It includes current weather conditions and information that changes based on time of day, weather severity, and changing local weather conditions. For example, if rain is predicted later in the day, a user might get a rain alert, or during a storm, a severe weather alert might be visible on the home screen.

A completely new visual aesthetic is the chief change in The Weather Channel app, with a design that’s cleaner and more informative. Gone is the circle-shaped weather listing in the middle of the app, which has been replaced with a full screen image on the home screen overlaid with relevant weather information.

Drilling down into the app will show an easy-to-read list of more detailed weather information, like wind speed, humidity, pressure, and more, along with a new 15-day forecast, which is a full five days longer than the previous 10-day forecast. As with the current app, the new app includes information on local health alerts, pollen levels, airport conditions, weather news, and beach conditions.

It continues to offer Weather Channel news updates, breaking news on weather, local maps, interactive radar maps for rain and snow information, hurricane reports, relevant weather-related notifications, and social weather reports that aggregate weather reports from social networks. New to the app is The Lift, an Al Roker-hosted mobile-only morning show that combines weather-related news, nature stories, viral videos, and more.

iPhone users with an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus can use 3D Touch on the app’s icon on the Home screen to enter one of four user-customized screens that include radar, saved locations, current location, search, or tools for sharing the weather.

For those who don’t want to see ads within The Weather Channel app, there’s a new $3.99 in-app purchase option that will remove all ads for one year. The $3.99 fee must be renewed each year to keep ads from being displayed.

The Weather Channel for iPhone can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tags: The Weather Channel, The Weather Company

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Apple Watch app warns when you’re nearing data limit

DataMan could be the name of a superhero, but it is instead an app that saves you from the dangers of going over your data limit. Now it has a sidekick for the Apple Watch that lets you be vigilant with a flick of the wrist. The DataMan app for the watch lets you easily […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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How to set up third-party complications in watchOS 2

Third-party complications have arrived to the Apple Watch in watchOS 2, and setting them up is far from complicated. The new operating system for Apple’s wearable dropped this week, and this is one of the features the company has talked up the most. And rightly so, because it adds a ton of new functionality to […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Become an Apple Watch time traveler with watchOS 2

If there’s one thing we could all benefit from, it’s more time in the day. Unfortunately, Time Travel on the new Apple Watch operating system, watchOS 2, won’t actually let you travel back in time to get a few extra hours of Netflix in, no matter which edition you purchased. However, watchOS 2 does now […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Inside iOS 9: A More Intelligent OS With Proactive Suggestions and Siri Improvements

iOS 9 focuses on intelligence and proactivity, giving iOS devices the tools to learn user habits and act on that information. In iOS 9, our iPhones and iPads can open up apps right when we need them, make recommendations on places we might like, and guide us through our daily lives through improvements to search and Siri.

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Proactive Suggestions

Through a set of Proactive features, iOS 9 is able to offer up app suggestions and other information based on the way you use your iPhone or iPad. For example, if you often listen to music in the morning, iOS 9 will offer up the Music app on the lock screen when you plug in your headphones. If you always open the weather app to check what’s going on outside, it might be presented as a suggestion each morning.

When heading home from work in the evening, iOS 9’s Proactive features might bring up a map that includes traffic patterns, or tell you how long it will take to get home. When getting in the car, if you listen to a specific music app, it might open automatically when the car connects to Bluetooth.

Proactive suggestions are also available within apps. When creating an email or composing a message to a friend, iOS 9 will suggest people you typically include, making it easy to get things done fast. If you get an email with a flight reservation or restaurant confirmation, iOS 9 can suggest and then create a calendar event. With calendar events that include location, iOS 9 is able to assess traffic conditions and send a reminder when it thinks you should leave to make it on time.

Siri

Siri is also able to do a lot more in iOS 9 because the personal assistant has contextual awareness. For example, when asking Siri to „Remind me to do this“ when looking at a request in the Messages app, Siri will understand what „This“ refers to, providing the correct response. In the Reminders app, the Reminder created by Siri will link back to that original conversation, so the source is apparent.

Siri is also more aware of location, so specific location-based reminders like „Call mom when I get in the car“ are available. For photos and videos, Siri is able to perform time-based searches. Ask Siri to „Show my photos from Utah from last August“ and images that fit the criteria will appear. Siri is able to search based on dates, location, and album titles.

Siri Suggestions

Swiping left on the Home screen brings up a new Spotlight search interface that includes „Siri Suggestions.“ Siri Suggestions includes a list of people you speak with often, apps you might want to use depending on the time of day, nearby venues like restaurants and gas stations, and relevant news.

Suggestions offered through this interface will change based on the time of day and each user’s iOS usage habits. If you open Yelp at lunchtime, it might display the Yelp app at noon. If you watch Netflix at night, it might display the Netflix app when you get home from work.

Search

Search in iOS 9 includes an expanded list of sources, which are available whenever a text-based search is made or a voice-based search through Siri. Sports scores and schedules, weather forecasts, and stock prices are all available, as are simple calculations and conversions. A search for 15% of $25, for example, will bring up the correct result.

Search extends to content within apps in iOS 9. When looking for a recipe, for example, you might search for „apple pie“ to find apple pie recipes across several different cooking apps. Developers need to build support for search into their apps, so not all apps will show up. In the Search section of the Settings app, you can customize which apps will show up in search results.

With all of these new features, iOS 9 will learn more about usage habits over time to create a unique experience that’s tailored towards the specific needs of each individual user. Proactive suggestions will improve as time goes on and the operating system gets used to the way you like to use your iPhone or iPad.



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