The introduction of iOS 11.3 this spring will bring iPhone and iPad users a way to interact with businesses within Messages, more immersive AR experiences, new Animoji, health records, and more.
The new ‘Business Chat’ feature enables users to communicate directly with businesses from within Messages, without the user sharing their contact information with the business. Through the feature, users will be able to have a conversation with a service representative, schedule appointments, or make purchases using Apple Pay. It will launch in beta when iOS 11.3 roll out to the public. News of the arrival of the feature comes not long after WhatsApp launched WhatsApp Business – an app dedicated to helping businesses connect with consumers. That app, at least for the time being, is only available on Android however.
The arrival of iOS 11 will also see ARKit 1.5 enter the fray, giving developers more experiences and tools to power AR apps. With this, ARKit will now be able to place objects on vertical surfaces and ‘more accurately map irregularly shaped surfaces’. In addition, the AR platform can now integrate real-world 2D images into AR experiences – such as bringing a movie poster to life.
iOS 11.3 will bring a ‘Health Records’ feature to the Health app. This feature combines app data with the user’s medical data available from multiple providers, so the user can keep up-to-date with all their medical needs. Health Records will be encrypted and protected with a passcode. And, speaking of health, Apple is including features for the user to see the health of their battery.
Other updates arriving with iOS 11.3 include the arrival of music video streaming on Apple Music, the introduction of a ‘Video’ group in the ‘For You’ section of Apple News, HomeKit software authentication, and support for Advanced Mobile Location (AML) to automatically send the user’s location when they are making a call to the emergency services. And, last but not least, for downloading the update, users will also be rewarded with four new Animoji in the form of a lion, bear, dragon, and skull.