Apple isn't set to release another major iOS update (iOS 11) until this summer, but the release of iOS 10.3 should hold the Apple faithful over until then. On Monday, Apple released iOS 10.3, with a host of new features and capabilities.
Most of these features were first revealed in the beta version of the OS, released in January.
Fans of the wireless Apple AirPods will now be able to more easily find them with a Find My AirPods feature, and an improved CarPlay includes shortcuts in the status bar for easy access to previously used apps. While those features could be a benefit to all users, there are a few features that will be especially helpful to business and professional users.
SEE: Mobile device computing policy template (Tech Pro Research)
Here are six professional-friendly features included in iOS 10.3, found in the announcement or discovered by researchers in its source code.
1. Apple File System
Unveiled at the 2016 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, the the Apple File System (APFS) was built to replace Apple's HFS and HFS+ systems, and it has a heavy focus on encryption as a primary feature. With iOS 10.3, Apple users will see their mobile devices migrate from the HFS+ system to APFS, providing stronger encryption for better security, and better optimization for flash storage as well.
2. iCloud storage
Professionals who use iCloud storage can now get a much clearer idea of how much storage they are actually using from the Settings app in iOS. In addition to seeing how much storage is being used, they will be able to see what kinds of files are being stored, and which devices are using most of the storage space. This could help an enterprise user get a better idea of how they could shift some files around to free up room.
3. New iPad keyboards
In a Twitter post, developer Steven Troughton-Smith showed off two iPad keyboard updates that he found in iOS 10.3. The first change he described as a gestural keyboard that allows for swiping motions on keys to add a space or backspace in a line. Troughton-Smith also demonstrated a floating digital keyboard that looks like it can be used with one hand and moved around the screen as needed. The keyboards were not officially announced by Apple, and some have speculated that the company may still be testing them internally.
4. Higher frame rates
Another hidden feature in iOS 10.3 discovered by Troughton-Smith is that Apple could be pushing for iOS device screen refresh rates higher than 60Hz. As reported by Apple Insider, this could set the stage for a more realistic Apple Pencil (great for creative professionals) or for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to eventually come to iOS devices.
5. iCloud calls for Verizon
While iCloud calls have been supported on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint for a while, iOS 10.3 is bringing them to Verizon as well. From now on, if the device is connected to iCloud, Verizon users can receive calls on their iPads, iPods, Macs, or Apple Watches, regardless of the proximity of their iPhone.
6. Additional Siri support
The new iOS includes new Siri supports, which allows users to pay and check the status of bills with payment apps, and to schedule cars with ride booking apps, all via voice command. The Siri update also offers users the ability to check their car fuel level and lock status, and to turn on their car lights, via auto apps.
iOS 10.3 is now available via an over-the-air update for iOS 10 users, or it can be downloaded on iTunes. If you are planning to update your device to iOS 10.3, be sure to check out this handy ZDNet guide explaining how to get your iPhone or iPad ready for the upcoming update.
- Apple's iPad refresh: 4 things business users need to know (TechRepublic)
- For privacy and security, change these iOS 10 settings right now (ZDNet)
- 10 great Mac tips to make you more productive (TechRepublic)
- How to get your iPhone or iPad ready for iOS 10.3 (ZDNet)
- How Apple's 2017 9.7" iPad better fills the gap between iPad mini and iPad Pro models (TechRepublic)
Updated: Conner Forrest originally published this article on March 23, 2017, based on information from the beta version of iOS 10.3 and from researchers. It was updated on March 27, 2017 by Alison DeNisco, with new information after the iOS officially launched.
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.