Apple

Business Chat Comes To New Apple iOS

Apple just previewed its latest update – iOS 11.3 – and the variety of new features coming to iPhones and iPads.

According to 9to5Mac, iOS 11.3 will be available to customers in the spring, while a developer beta of it was released yesterday (Jan. 24).

One of the biggest features of iOS 11.3 will also be newly featured in iMessage: Business Chat, which will launch this spring. "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," the company wrote. "Business Chat doesn’t share the user’s contact information with businesses and gives users the ability to stop chatting at any time."

Apple will be testing partnerships with Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo.

Business Chat, which was announced last year at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, comes as a Facebook-commissioned study by Nielsen found that 56 percent of consumers prefer to text businesses rather than call them. And 67 percent said they expect to message more businesses over the next two years.

Other upgrades include ARKit 1.5, which will allow developers to provide even more immersive AR experiences. With the introduction of the original ARKit in iOS 11, iOS became the world's biggest AR platform. In addition to horizontal surfaces, ARKit 1.5 can now recognize and place virtual objects on vertical surfaces like walls and doors, as well as more accurately map irregularly shaped surfaces.

There are also four new Animoji for iPhone X: a bear, dragon, skull and lion – bringing the total to 16 animated characters. And the Health app will now allow the integration of hospital and clinic records. Encrypted with a passcode, users will be notified of lab records and medications, and will also be able to see data from various medical providers.

In addition, the Music app will feature more music videos, while Apple News is enhancing Top Stories and featuring video content.

Apple customers can also check to see whether their devices are being subjected to advanced power management and choose to turn them off. These changes will be found in the battery settings for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. This feature will be coming in a later update of the iOS 11.3 beta release.

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