Mobility

Apple iOS 11.3 preview includes Business Chat and switch to turn off iPhone throttling

The Business Chat feature will allow iOS users to communicate with a business directly in the Messages app.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Apple's iOS 11.3 is in preview with ARKit updates, a new Business Chat feature, new Animoji, and more.
  • Business Chat allows users to text businesses like Lowe's directly in their Messages app, improving customer service responsiveness.

Apple's iOS 11.3, announced in preview Wednesday, could make it easier for individuals to reach businesses and improve the customer service experience with its new Business Chat feature.

Business Chat will allow iOS users the ability to communicate directly with participating businesses from inside the Messages app on their iPhone or iPad, according to a press release. Using the same app through which they text friends or colleagues, users will now be able to text a business directly to schedule an appointment, work with a customer service agent, or make a purchase with Apple Pay, the release said.

As live chat and messaging begin to overshadow phone support in the customer service world, Apple is further removing barriers to these interactions by bringing the companies directly to its users, so they can get help through an app they're already used to in a familiar format.

SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)

Business Chat will be available in beta once iOS 11.3 hits public availability in spring 2018. It will launch with support from Discover, Hilton, Lowe's, and Wells Fargo, the release noted.

For the privacy-conscious iOS user, Apple explicitly noted that "Business Chat doesn't share the user's contact information with businesses and gives users the ability to stop chatting at any time."

Apple recently made headlines when it admitted to throttling older iPhones to save battery life. The new update has a feature in the Settings app under Battery that will tell a user if their battery is healthy, and will let them turn off the throttling feature, the release said.

Apple also announced that it was brining ARKit 1.5 to developers, in order to enable new AR experiences. It provides better views of the real world through the camera, along with better detection of odd-shaped surfaces. The biggest change, though, is the ability to turn 2D objects like signs, posters, and artwork into AR experiences This means, the release said, that a movie poster could be turned into an interactive ad, for example.

Additionally, iOS users will have access to Health Records in the Health app and four new Animoji to be used in Messages.

Also see

Apple iOS Business Chat
Image: Apple

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox