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Apple releases iOS 11.3 with Battery Health, Health Records, Business Chat and more

Apple has announced the final public release of iOS 11.3, featuring a significant number of updates for a point release. Originally previewed in late January, iOS 11.3 promises new augmented reality experiences, new Animoji for iPhone X users, a new Business Chat feature that will allow businesses to communicate with customers via iMessage, a Health Records feature that helps users of participating medical institutions more easily view their medical records, enhanced data and privacy controls, and the Battery Health feature that will ensure users know when their performance is being throttled due to aging batteries on older iPhones.

Tim Cook announces new 9.7” iPad that’s compatible with Apple Pencil

During today’s education event in Chicago, Tim Cook announced the new 9.7” iPad that is compatible with Apple Pencil. The $329 base device (or $299 when bought by schools) is the first non-Pro iPad to make use of the Apple Pencil and also features an A10 Fusion chip, but leaves out the Smart Connector and True Tone display of the iPad Pro. During the event Apple also touted a new line of low-cost accessories from Logitech in keeping with the affordability theme. Alongside the new iPad, Apple released updated iWork apps that are all compatible with Apple Pencil and showcased education applications for AR apps by dissecting a frog on the iPad using an Apple Pencil. The new models will be available to order starting today and ship sometime this week.

QR code exploit could use iOS Camera app to misdirect users to malicious sites

Infosec has discovered a potential exploit using the QR code-reading capabilities of the iOS Camera app that would allow one URL to be displayed while directing users to another hidden link. The simple code tweak allows those generating a QR code to set their link to display a safe-looking or familiar URL in the iOS confirmation box that pops up when a QR code is scanned, only to deliver the user to another URL entirely that was placed later in the code. The issue has been reported to Apple but hasn’t been fixed yet.

Report: Cheaper iPad expected to launch soon may work with Apple Pencil

Well-respected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple will double its shipments of the Apple Pencil this year, possibly by making a new, cheaper iPad expected to launch this week compatible with the accessory, 9to5Mac reports. Until now the Apple pencil has only worked with the much more expensive iPad Pro line, so it’s been a boon to artists and designers, but not a big seller for the tablets that tend to make their way into the hands of children. That could change during tomorrow’s education event at Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago, if Apple CEO Tim Cook reveals a low-price iPad that’s Apple Pencil-ready. Kuo also said it’s possible the iPhone will eventually support the Apple Pencil as well, but didn’t firmly commit to that coming in the near future.

Apple expected to launch new low-cost iPads at next week’s education event

Apple is expected to unveil at least one new low-cost iPad model at next week’s education event, Bloomberg reports. The event, announced last week, is being held on Tuesday at Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago, and is the first time Apple has held an education-related event since 2012 when it unveiled textbooks and the iBooks Author tool. According to Mark Gurman, Apple will be showing off a new version of its entry-level iPad, presumably an update to the fifth-generation iPad which debuted around this time last year starting at the previously unheard of price of $329. While there has been speculation that Apple may lower the price even further this year or introduce Apple Pencil support to the lower-end iPad, Gurman doesn’t provide any insight into that.

Report says new iPad Pro could feature slim bezels, Face ID; throws cold water on iPhone SE update

A new report from the Economic Daily News backs up previous rumors that Apple plans to release an updated pair of iPad Pro devices this June at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference. A source said the display will measure about 11”  — which could possibly just take the same footprint of the current 10.5” iPad Pro and shave down the bezels to create a slightly larger display. The 12.9” model is also expected to get a refresh, and both are rumored to be getting Face ID support and faster eight-core A11X processors. The report also throws more cold water on rumors that Apple will be releasing an updated iPhone SE in the first half of the year, claiming that the three iPhones to be released later this year is all we’re likely to see.

Pair of patents provide look at waterproof Lightning connector, crumb-proof keyboard

A pair of patents show Apple’s interest in improving the seals on its devices, starting with a Lightning connector that creates a water-tight seal when inserted. Discovered by Patently Apple, one version of the Lightning connector features a tapered shape made of a “deformable material” that molds itself to the Lightning port to lock moisture out and keep the internal connections free from moisture.

Amazon brings Alexa calling and messaging features to the iPad

Amazon has expanded access to its Alexa calling and messaging options to the iPad and other tablets, Engadget reports. The feature already allowed Echo owners to communicate with iPhone users with the Alexa app installed, but today’s change opens it up to the iPad as well. The Alexa app can even call out from the iPad to any smartphone or tablet in the device’s contact list, provided it’s running the Alexa app, too — so the update isn’t limited to communicating with those with Amazon devices.

Report: iPad Pro with Face ID could debut at WWDC

A new report from Rosenblatt analyst Jun Zhang in Barrons suggests that Apple’s rumoured Face ID enabled iPad Pro models may make their debut at this year’s Worldwide Developers’ Conference in June. Zhang expects that the new devices could offset some persisting weaknesses in iPhone X sales, and estimates that the new iPad Pro would be ready for mass production with a release date in late Q2 2018. Rumours of Face ID coming to the iPad Pro first appeared last October from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, suggesting that the inclusion of a TrueDepth camera would not only enable Face ID but would open up many more possibilities for developers. A WWDC release date doesn’t seem entirely out of the question in light of the fact that last year’s iPad Pro models were unveiled at the same time, although Apple has also more commonly unveiled major new iPad releases during its fall events in recent years. [via MacRumors]

Apple releases fourth watchOS 4.3 developer beta, new public betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3

Apple has released a fourth watchOS 4.3 beta along with new public betas for iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3, matching the fourth developer betas released earlier this week. Featuring a build number of 15T5199f,  the sparse release notes don’t suggest any significant changes since the prior beta. watchOS 4.3 is expected to bring iPhone music control back to the Apple Watch and allow Nightstand mode to work in portrait orientation. The latest beta also appears to resolve issues with weather information in Greater China and accuracy in the battery complication.

Report: Cellebrite has tools that can break into any device running iOS 11, including iPhone X

Cellebrite — the security firm that made headlines after rumors surfaced that it was responsible for breaking into the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone in 2016 — is now able to get into any iPhone running iOS 11, even the iPhone X, Forbes reports. The company hasn’t made any flashy public statements about the breakthrough, but its latest marketing materials claim the company can unlock and extract data from “Apple iOS devices and operating systems, including iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, iPad Pro and iPod touch, running iOS 5 to iOS 11.” Sources said Cellebrite is telling customers its engineers have devised ways to get around Apple’s most up-to-date security features, and it’s likely that the company’s tech was used to crack an iPhone X for the Department for Homeland Security last November. Apple hasn’t publicly responded to the news.

Shure hints at iOS 11.3 coming this week in since-deleted tweet

While Apple has only given a “Spring” release timeline for iOS 11.3, audio tool manufacturer Shure seems to have let the cat out of the bag that the update is coming this week, according to PiunikaWeb. In a weekend response to a customer question about problems with a specific condenser microphone, Shure’s Twitter account replied that “iOS 11.3, due out next week, resolves it.” The tweet has since been deleted, so time will tell is Shure was just speculating or actually has inside knowledge of Apple’s release timeline.

Apple releases third watchOS 4.3 developer beta, new public betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3

Apple has released a third watchOS 4.3 beta along with new public betas for iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3, matching the third developer betas released yesterday. While the release notes are sparse, it appears from the betas that watchOS 4.3 will be bringing iPhone music control back to the Apple Watch and allow Nightstand mode to work in portrait orientation. The latest beta also appears to resolve issues with weather information in Greater China and accuracy in the battery complication.

Regulatory filings and code in iOS 11.3 beta hint at new iPad models

A set of new regulatory filings with the Eurasian Economic Commission shows Apple has registered two new iPads, Consomac reports. The devices, listed as tablets running iOS 11, were registered with serial numbers that don’t correspond to any existing iPads. Last month, developer Filipe Espósito dug up references to an “iPad_Modern” in the iOS 11.3 beta that echoes the earlier use of “iPhone_Modern” to refer to the iPhone X, but it’s still unclear if a new iPad would have the look and/or features of the iPhone X. Regardless of what form they end up taking, Apple has been approved by the EEC to sell two new iPads likely to debut relatively soon.

Apple releases iOS 11.2.6 with Telugu character fix, watchOS 4.2.3 and tvOS 11.2.6

Apple has released iOS 11.2.6 with an update that fixes issues with third-party apps connecting to external accessories and a bug causing the Indian Tegulu character to crash Messages and other apps. Apple had fixed the special character bug in the iOS 11.3 beta, but seems to have pushed out the fix early to keep users from having to wait for the next big release. A macOS 10.13.3 update fixes the Tegulu problem for Mac users, and Apple also released tvOS 11.2.6 for Apple TV and watchOS 4.2.3 for Apple Watch.

New iOS 11 bug crashing iPhones when a special character is received

A bug in iOS 11.2.5 has been discovered that’s will crash the iPhone when a specific Indian-language character is received in a text message or e-mail, The Verge reports. Originally discovered by Italian blog Mobile World, the bug affects iPhones running iOS 11.2.5 as well as Messages and Safari on macOS, and has been confirmed as affecting not only the built-in Messages and Mail apps, but also third-party apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Outlook, and Gmail. The crash is triggered when the device receives the Indian language Telugu character, which will cause the iOS Springboard to crash and prevent the affected app such as Messages to open as a result of trying and failing to load the character, at least until the point at which another message is received.

Apple releases second watchOS 4.3 developer beta alongside new public iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 betas

Apple has released a second watchOS 4.3 beta along with new public betas for iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3, matching the second developer betas released yesterday. While the release notes are sparse, it appears from the betas that watchOS 4.3 will be bringing iPhone music control back to the Apple Watch and allow Nightstand mode to work in portrait orientation.

Apple releases first watchOS 4.3 beta, iOS 11.3 + tvOS 11.3 public betas

Apple has followed up the release of the first iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 developer betas earlier this week with the first beta of watchOS 4.3. Featuring a build number of 15T5165e, the very sparse release notes list only basic background information and “No known issues” providing no insight into what’s actually changed in the newest version.

Apple releases first iOS 11.3, tvOS 11.3 developer beta

Apple has released the first betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 to registered developers, with the improvements previewed earlier today, specifically new Animoji and the promised improvements to battery health monitoring resulting from the recent iPhone slowdown controversy. iOS 11.3 also brings back the Messages in iCloud feature that was promised for the initial iOS 11 release, with the release notes indicating that it’s currently “for testing and evaluation purposes” and adds that the feature will be automatically enabled — in the beta at least — for users who already have two-factor authentication and iCloud Backup enabled. In addition, the new iOS version also adds a new security protocol that will require users to re-enter their device passcode to authorize a Lighting-connected USB accessory if it has not been connected to the device for more than a week.

Preview of iOS 11.3 reveals new Animoji avatars, ARKit improvements, battery monitoring and more

Apple has released a preview of the new features in its iOS 11.3 software ahead of beta releases to developers and the public. The updated operating system’s Messages app will add new Animoji options — dragon, bear, lion and skull — as well as a Business Chat feature that lets users “have a conversation with a service representative, schedule an appointment or make purchases using Apple Pay” with select business partners, including Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo. Addressing the outrage over slowing down iPhones with older batteries, Apple has added a way to see the device’s battery health and a way to shut off the power management features that slowed down devices to preserve battery life.

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