Apple has announced that iOS 11.3 will arrive this spring with “exciting new ways to experience augmented reality on iPhone and iPad, new Animoji on iPhone X and the ability to view health records in the Health app.
Along with iOS 11.3, the tech giant has rolled out ARKit 1.5 to developers to provide even more immersive AR experiences. ARKitallows developers to tap into the latest computer vision technologies to build detailed virtual content on top of real-world scenes for interactive gaming, immersive shopping experiences, industrial design and more. In addition to horizontal surfaces like tables and chairs, ARKit can now recognize and place virtual objects on vertical surfaces like walls and doors, and can more accurately map irregularly shaped surfaces like circular tables.
Using advanced computer vision techniques to find and recognize the position of 2D images such as signs, posters, and artwork, ARKit can integrate these real world images into AR experiences such as filling a museum with interactive exhibits or bringing a movie poster to life. The view of the real world through the camera now has 50% greater resolution and supports auto-focus for an even sharper perspective.
Apple says Animoji have been a hit with iPhone X users, who’ve used their voice and facial expressions to record and send Animoji messages and even create Animoji karaoke videos. Working with A11 Bionic in the iPhone X, the smartphone’s TrueDepth camera captures and analyzes over 50 different facial muscle movements, then animates those expressions in a dozen different Animoji (animated emoji), including a panda, unicorn and robot. Available as an iMessage app pre-installed on iPhone X, customers can record and send Animoji messages with their voice that can smile, frown and more.
iOS 11.3 introduces four new Animoji, giving iPhone X users the ability to express themselves as a lion, bear, dragon or skull. Working with the A11 Bionic chip and TrueDepth camera in iPhone X, over 50 different facial muscle movements are captured, analyzed and then animated, allowing users to send Animoji messages as one of 16 different characters.
Business Chat is a new way for users to communicate directly with businesses right within Messages. This feature will launch in beta with the public availability of iOS 11.3 this spring, with the support of select businesses including Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo.
According to Apple, with Business Chat, it's easy to have a conversation with a service representative, schedule an appointment or make purchases using Apple Pay in the Messages app. Business Chat doesn’t share the user’s contact information with businesses and gives users the ability to stop chatting at any time.
iOS 11.3 adds new features to show battery health and recommend if a battery needs to be serviced. These can be found in Settings -> Battery and are available for iPhone 6 and later.
Additionally, users can now see if the power management feature that dynamically manages maximum performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns, first introduced in iOS 10.2.1, is on and can choose to turn it off. This feature can be found in Settings -> Battery and is available for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. These features will be coming in a later iOS 11.3 beta release.
The new Health Records feature brings together hospitals, clinics and the existing Health app to make it easy for consumers to see their available medical data from multiple providers, whenever they choose. Patients from participating medical institutions will have information from various institutions organized into one view and receive regular notifications for their lab results, medications, conditions and more. Health Records data is encrypted and protected with a passcode.
Other things to look forward to:
- Apple Music will soon be the home for music videos. Users can stream all the music videos they want without being interrupted by ads. They can also watch the hottest new videos, the classics or ones from their favorite artists back-to-back in new music video playlists.
- Apple News will make it easier to stay up-to-date on the most important videos of the day with a new Video group in For You, and improved Top Stories.
- HomeKit software authentication will provide a great new way for developers to add HomeKit support to existing accessories while protecting privacy and security.
- There will be support for Advanced Mobile Location (AML) to automatically send a user’s current location when making a call to emergency services in countries where AML is supported.
The developer preview of iOS 11.3 is available to iOS Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today, followed by a public beta preview available at beta.apple.com. iOS 11.3 will be available this spring as a free software update for iPhone 5s and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation, iPad mini 2 and later and iPod touch 6th generation. Features are subject to change. Some features may not be available on all devices or in all regions or all languages. Not all features will be in the beta releases.