Apple kicked off the week with a bang by releasing the first beta versions of iOS 9.3, tvOS 9.2, and WatchOS 2.2 to registered developers. Here are some of our favorite new features.
We ran down the complete list of improvements yesterday, but these three definitely stand out.
Multi-user support for education users – Multi-user support for iPads has been on our iOS wish list for years, and it looks like Apple is taking a big step toward that goal. While only education users can take advantage of the feature in iOS 9.3, it’s a pretty safe bet that we’ll see something like this in iOS 10 whenever it is unveiled this summer at WWDC.
With the current implementation, children in the classroom can pick up any iPad and login with their information. They will see all of their specific apps and other information.
New 3D Touch shortcuts for some stock apps – Anyone with an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus should be happy to hear Apple has added a number of 3D Touch gestures in stock apps like Weather, Settings, Compass, Health, and iTunes. My favorite Quick Actions can be accessed after selecting the Settings icon. You’ll be able to quickly head to the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Battery settings and even set a new wallpaper.
Night Shift mode – Night owls rejoice. Much like popular Mac app f.lux, Apple’s new Night Shift mode should make it easier to work with your iPhone or iPad at night. It will use your clock and iOS device’s location to determine when the sun has set. It will then shift the display colors to the warmer end of the spectrum to make it easier on your eyes. It will return to normal in the morning.
Bluetooth keyboard support – Finally. After Apple updated the Remote app to work with the revamped fourth-generation Apple TV, the lack of Bluetooth keyboard support was the biggest missing feature on the new device. But that’s no more with tvOS 9.2. Pairing is a quick and simple process and will definitely make entering text – especially usernames and passwords – much easier.
Folders – This is another nice feature. With the tvOS App Store quickly growing, allowing users to organize apps makes a lot of sense.
If you’re interested, earlier today our own Jeff Byrnes took a look at all of the new features Apple TV users can expect.
Watch OS 2.2
A revamped Apple Maps glance – Along with being able to pair more than one Apple Watch with your iPhone, the new software for the wearable device contains a revamped look for the Apple Maps glance. Instead of a simple map of your current location, the glance shows quick links for home, work, search, and nearby.
When will the software arrive to the general public?
While all of the new features sound great, you’ll need to have a bit of patience. Since Apple has only released the first beta version of each piece of software to registered developers, it could be a while before everything is available to download by the general public. I suspect all three could arrive sometime in March, possibly with the rumored media event to unveil the “Apple Watch 2” and “iPhone 6c.”
For other news today, see: Readdle’s Spark email app gets even better with default signatures and other enhancements, You can now find out which cars have CarPlay with Apple’s official list, and Periscope is now live on Twitter for iOS.