Earlier this week Apple introduced a series of betas for their main platforms. iOS 10.3, macOS Sierra 10.12.4 and tvOS 10.2. For the past few years these mid cycle releases of a major OS revision have often had new features, last year with 9.3 bringing multi user accounts for education and NightShift to iOS. This year is no different.
The highlight feature for consumers is Find My AirPods. If you accidentally misplace one or both of your AirPods without the case you can now use the Find my iPhone app on the recently connected device to have them. This will send out a series of tones with increasing volume to try and find them, because they play at such a high decibel level above the norm you don't want to try this feature with your AirPods in your ear.
Apple File System (APFS) was first announced at WWDC 2016 and has been in the works for many years. The first system to use this was macOS Sierra developer preview and was considered beta. Now 10.3 is bringing this file system to the masses by converting the existing HFS+ file system to APFS. Apple File System has been designed internally at Apple to offer a number of features such as:
Better latency when accessing the file system, ideal for mobile devices
Snapshots to create a point-in-time instance of a file
Clones lets the OS make copies on the same volume without taking up additional storage space.
Stronger encryption with the ability to encrypt metadata as well. Users can opt into the following options: no, single-key, multi-key encryption.
You can find out more about APFS in this WWDC session, watch here.
This release finally allows app developers to properly ask users to rate their app. The SKStoreReviewController API can ask users to rate or review the app during use. The implementation here, as always, takes into account the privacy of users and will make sure developers won't abuse this feature. For example a review pop up might only show up 3 times a year and users can opt out of ever getting such review requests.
How often have you had the annoying rate my app popup? This intends to fix that and developers can place the simple code anywhere they think that users will have had a positive action and the system will decide to. It's unclear at this time if you other review implementations such as the excellent iRate will be allowed by app review once this roles out. As well as mobile app developers will also finally be able to respond to customers on the App Store, hopefully resulting in better conversations and less one star reviews!
iOS 10.3 also brings a podcast app widget, iCloud analytics, Siri cricket scores from Indian Premier League and International Cricket Council, CarPlay displays last three apps used and Settings app gets a new account view.
Additionally macOS received NightShift mode, Safari 10.1 with a number of changes to WebKit, more here: and watchOS 3.2 (coming soon) will bring theater mode to turn off the display permanently when in a movie theater and SiriKit to the watch.