Apple previews iOS 11.3 bringing Major Updates to ARKit, Business Chat in Messages and More

Major Updates to ARKit, Messages and More Coming This Spring

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Apple has offered a public preview of iOS 11.3, which is scheduled for a spring release. iOS 11.3 will deliver 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.

New features included four additional characters for Animoji, the face-tracking feature on the iPhone X, and ARKit 1.5 for better insertion of virtual objects in real environments.

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 percent greater resolution and supports auto-focus for an even sharper perspective.

Messages Gets New Animoji 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.

Apple previews iOS 11.3 bringing Major Updates to ARKit, Business Chat in Messages and More

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.

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

The Health app will get a Records section that allows participating medical providers to send results and guidance directly to the patient’s phone. 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.

Apple also adds Advanced Mobile Location that will automatically give emergency services a caller’s current location.

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 now makes 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.

New HomeKit software authentication will allow some developers to add HomeKit support to accessories without having Apple’s previously required hardware, which could help Apple move deeper into the smart home space.

The battery throttling issue is getting a fix – but not until a later beta version of iOS 11.3. Anyone with an iPhone 6 or later will have new features displaying battery health and service needs. Those with an iPhone 6 to iPhone 7 Plus will also see if dynamic performance management (the feature causing the throttling) turns on and the user can turn it off.