On Tuesday, Apple seeded the first beta of iOS 10.3 to developers. It is expected to be the last major update to Apple’s mobile operating system before the iOS 11 is unveiled at the WWDC in June. The iOS 10.3 beta 1 introduces several useful features and bug fixes. It works on the iPhone 5 and later, iPod Touch 6th generation, and the iPad 4th generation and later.
Here are some of the most important features of the iOS 10.3 beta 1:
Find My AirPods
Given the nature of the tiny (and expensive) AirPods, most users are worried about losing them. The iOS 10.3 beta has a “Find My AirPods” feature that uses the earphones’ wireless technology to locate the accessory. The feature is integrated within the Find My iPhone app. It comes handy if you misplaced the AirPods somewhere in your house, but it’s not as efficient as Find My iPhone due to limited range.
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The Find My AirPods feature allows users to look for just one or both earbuds. The onscreen map can tell you where the lost earbud is. The AirPods also produce a loud sound, revealing their hiding place.
iOS 10.3 goes big on cricket
The update gives Siri the ability to show live scores from International Cricket Council (ICC) and Indian Premiere League (IPL) cricket matches, besides answering other queries. You can ask Siri questions like: ‘What are the 2016 IPL rankings?’ ‘Show me Virat Kohli stats’, and ‘Who leads the IPL in runs scored?’ Users can also check the player rosters and match schedules.
Developers can ask for a review
The Cupertino company has finally added an API that will let app developers ask for a review. Developers can even reply to user reviews in the App Store – building a genuine customer-developer dialogue. The new SKStoreReviewController API allows app developers to ask for a rating within the app via a dialog box pop-up. Users can choose to toggle this feature off/on at a system level.
APFS file system
The iOS 10.3 introduces the next-gen Apple File System (APFS) with native encryption. It replaces the old HFS+ file system. The new file system was announced last year, but it is being added to the iOS for the first time. It will eventually be seeded to all Apple operating systems including tvOS, watchOS, and MacOS. The new file system is built for flash storage from scratch.
Settings app gets a makeover
The Settings app in iOS 10.3 has a new interface where the user’s profile occupies the top space. The profile menu includes your name, photo, and other details.
Other improvements include a new floating keyboard for iPads to offer one-handed typing. Third-party payment app developers can now integrate Siri to pay. Ride-hailing apps can also call on Siri to schedule a ride. However, the much-rumored “Theater Mode” is missing from the iOS 10.3 beta 1.