First Look: Apple iOS 9.3 beta

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iOS 9.3 beta

It’s a major new beta for the Apple iPhone/iPad iOS mobile platform – that generally means fairly big new features, and Apple hasn’t disappointed with Monday’s release. The company’s iOS ecosystem will soon have a brand-new set of capabilities for educators, improvements to CarPlay, Health and News, and more besides. Have a look.

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Apple School Manager

Part of the new focus on education in iOS 9.3 is the School Manager application, which Apple says is a full-service portal that allows administrators to handle mobile data management (MDM) preparation, new Apple IDs and more.

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Classroom app and multi-user functionality

The Classroom app lets educators teach lessons directly via the iPad, and multi-user support allows students to share the devices among themselves.

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Improved Apple Watch support

For the person who really does have everything, iOS 9.3 (combined with watchOS 2.2, released at the same time) can pair idevices with more than one Apple Watch. This will be a major boon for, um, people who own more than one Apple Watch.

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Night Shift

Staring at screens late at night can be tough on your eyes. While third-party apps like f.lux (pictured) have plenty of devotees, Apple’s going one better and including a softer-colored night mode to reduce eyestrain.

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Despite cracking down on Volkswagen for trying to show off some wireless features of Apple’s CarPlay automotive software at CES, Apple itself rolled out several new CarPlay bells and whistles, including better maps integration and customized music.

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News improvements

Apple’s improved personalization, added a landscape mode for the iPhone and inline video viewing in its News app. And hey, maybe this time it’ll count readers accurately.

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New APIs and improved integration with third-party apps should make it easier to customize Apple Health in iOS 9.3. They’ve also made more data available to Apple Watch users, for easier access.