Monday, December 21, 2020

Apple’s iOS 9.3 Ready to Run On Your iPhone and iPad

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Apple’s slow march to iOS 9.3 is officially over.

The iPhone maker, which has been providing beta versions of iOS 9.3 to developers for some time, said at a press event on Monday that the operating system update would be widely available starting Monday.

iphone

Apple’s iOS 9.3 includes new features, including bug fixes and security enhancements. One of its most important updates, however, is a new feature called Night Shift.

The feature analyzes the clock and location built into iOS and automatically changes colors when it deduces that it’s night time so that it’s easier on users’ eyes. According to Apple, the less blue light from the screen, the better.

Beyond that, Apple’s update also includes support for password-protecting the company’s Notes application. The company also added new top stories feature that will make it easier to track articles in its News service.

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Additionally, Apple says its CarPlay, which works with iOS, is also getting an enhancement. Apple also delivered some subtle design enhancements across the operating system, including to its Control Center.

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The announcements came at Apple’s press event at its Cupertino, Calif. headquarters. Like the company’s recent keynote events, the show kicked off with Apple CEO Tim Cook and quickly turned to talk of Apple’s new hardware and software.

Apple holds just a few press events annually. The company is expected to make more product debut at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June and likely announce its rumored iPhone 7 update around September. That said, Apple does not confirm it will hold press events until it’s ready, so those events’ exact timing is unknown.

Apple’s iOS 9.3 update is by no means groundbreaking. Indeed, many of the new features were expected for quite some time. That said, Apple has been successful over the last several years in getting its iPhone, iPad, and iPod touches users to upgrade to its new platforms. As of March 7, Apple had converted 80% of its billion iOS users to its latest version, iOS 9. While it’s unknown how many of those are running the latest version, the company’s over-the-air updates make it easy for users to get the latest option.

That stands in stark contrast to Google’s Android platform, which has had trouble getting customers to run its latest operating system. Part of the issue is that Google must wait on third-party smartphone vendors like Samsung to send updates to customers. The company also needs its updates to be sent over carrier networks. The delay, in other words, hurts the initial adoption of its latest operating systems.

Looking ahead, Apple will bundle iOS 9.3 with any new iOS-based device it sells, ensuring that customers buying its new products are also running its latest software. And although it’s unknown how the operating system will work in the wild, it comes with some crucial security enhancements, including one that safeguards Messages encryption. That alone could get existing Apple iOS owners to convert to the version.

Apple’s iOS 9.3 is available Monday as a free download.

For more on what’s going on at Apple’s event and the latest news from the company’s first keynote of the year, click here for Fortune’s liveblog.




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