5 awesome new iPhone features in iOS 11.3 that no one is talking about

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iOS 11 Features

It seems like it took forever, but Apple finally released its hotly anticipated iOS 11.3 update on Thursday afternoon. Why would a software update other than iOS 12 be hotly anticipated, you ask? Despite merely being a “dot” update, this iOS 11.3 release includes a feature that iPhone users have been dying for: a way to disable Apple’s automatic iPhone throttling on devices with older batteries.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, it was revealed earlier this year that Apple had been secretly limiting performance on older iPhone models with batteries that had degraded to a certain point. This mechanism had been added to iOS last year in an effort to prevent inadvertent shutdowns (remember the “30% bug”?), but the fact that Apple did it without telling customers played right into the planned obsolescence conspiracy theories. You know, the people who say Apple secretly slows down older devices to get people to buy new ones. We’ve all laughed at those theories for years… and then it actually happened — though according to statements from Apple, its goal was to stop phones from shutting down rather than force upgrades.

Whatever the case, new battery health features and the ability to disable throttling are definitely the most talked about additions to Apple’s mobile software in iOS 11.3. There are some other things that have Apple fans buzzing as well, such as four new Animoji characters — lion, bear, dragon, and skull — and notifications when iOS wants your personal data. There’s much more to the iOS 11.3 update, though, and in this post we’ll discuss five cool new features that you might not know about.

Speed and performance improvements

If you have an older iPhone and you disable Apple’s throttling feature, you’re obviously going to notice huge improvements where UI speed and overall performance are concerned. As a quick recap, Lithium-Ion batteries lose capacity over time as they endure more and more charge cycles. Once the remaining capacity reaches a certain point, earlier versions of iOS automatically throttle performance as a workaround for the shutdown bug that was driving users crazy. Phones would remain throttled until the battery was replaced, which is why Apple slashed the price of its battery swap program as a mea culpa. Now, in iOS 11.3, users can disable throttling so their older iPhones are no longer slowed down.

Yes, we all know that feature has been added to iOS 11.3. What far fewer people are discussing, however, is that RAM management appears to have been improved in iOS 11.3, which is also a huge deal.

iOS 11 has been plagued by serious RAM management issues ever since it was released. You know those real-life speed tests YouTubers love, where iPhones would always crush the latest Android phone? Well iPhones have been losing those races lately because they don’t use RAM efficiently. Apps that should remain “frozen” in the background were being close completely when new apps were opened because there wasn’t enough available RAM to store their statuses.

It’s still early, but my own initial testing suggests that Apple has made some improvements to RAM management. A number of other iPhone users have emailed me to report the same, and I’ve seen discussions start to pop up online. I have found that apps often remain frozen in the background in instances where they would have previously been force closed. As a result, switching around from app to app is far quicker than it was in earlier versions of iOS 11. Needless to say, this is a big deal.

Augmented Reality enhancements

ARKit is still relatively new and buzzy, but no one is really talking about the nifty enhancements Apple introduced in iOS 11.3. Here are the relevant notes from the iOS 11.3 change log:

  • ARKit 1.5 allows developers to place virtual objects on vertical surfaces, such as walls and doors, as well as on horizontal surfaces.
  • Supports the detection and integration of images, such as movie posters or works, into augmented reality experiences.
  • The real-world view perceived through the camera has a higher resolution as part of the augmented reality experience.

There are countless things that developers can do with these enhancements. As someone with a horrible eye for visualizing decor, I personally can’t wait for good apps that let me see what different paintings and prints will look like on my walls.

App review sorting

This might not seem like a big deal at first glance, but it is:

  • Four options now allow you to sort the customer reviews on the product pages: the most useful, the most favorable, the most critical or the most recent.

In general, customer reviews in the App Store are really, really, really bad. People get frustrated over silly things or they don’t understand something that should be obvious, so they hop on the App Store and leave a 1-star review. In iOS 11.3, people can finally sort app reviews to weed out the junk and more easily find reviews that are actually useful.

Username and passwords autofill in apps

This change is also a huge deal that people are going to love. In earlier versions of iOS 11, Safari could store usernames and passwords to autofill them on websites where users need to log in. Now, this functionality is finally available in apps, as per the following note from the iOS 11.3 change log:

  • Automatic filling of usernames and passwords is now available in apps’ web views.

So, for example, when you click through a link to The Wall Street Journal in your Twitter app, you can auto-fill your login info rather than having to leave the app and dig your username and password out of a third-party password manager like 1Password.

Death of the auto-correct capitalization bug

This last one is my personal favorite, because this is a bug that has bothered me forever. In fact, this bug might have been in iOS since the very beginning. Here’s the item of interest from Apple’s iOS 11 release notes:

  • Fixes a problem that could cause the capitalization of the first letter of some words by the automatic correction feature.

I’ll describe it a bit better, and iPhone users will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Sometimes as you’re typing messages, you would make a spelling mistake or some other mistake that auto-correct didn’t catch. So, you would hit the backspace button a bunch of times until the word in question was deleted. Because of this bug, when you finished deleting the first letter of the word in question, iOS would automatically engage the caps button even though the word you deleted didn’t start with a capital letter. Then, when you began to type again, the first letter would be capitalized even though it shouldn’t be.

For example, you might delete “teh”in the middle of a sentence and then replace it with “The,” which shouldn’t have been capitalized. It was beyond annoying, but now it’s finally fixed.

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Apple’s revamped privacy controls will let you download all of your data

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Apple new privacy features

As Facebook attempts to restore public trust following the Cambridge Analytica catastrophe and Europe prepares to implement new privacy laws, Apple on Thursday shared plans with Bloomberg to revamp its privacy controls. Starting this spring, Apple will update its web page for managing Apple IDs to allow users to easily download a copy of all their personal data that has been stored on the company’s servers.

Apple users will also be able to correct personal information that is inaccurate, temporarily deactivate their account or delete their account altogether. As Bloomberg explains, this functionality is being added to Apple’s website in order to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which takes effect on May 25th.

“This certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary,” Cook said when asked about the Facebook incident at a recent summit in China. “The ability of anyone to know what you’ve been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike and every intimate detail of your life — from my own point of view it shouldn’t exist.”

Apple says that the new web privacy features will roll out for European users in early May, and will then come to other countries at an unspecified later date. Apple doesn’t currently offer a privacy hub where users can download data and correct information, so this is a welcome addition (even if Apple had to be pushed into doing it).

And while it might be some time before everyone has access to the new privacy features, iOS 11.3, which just rolled out today, adds a new icon that appears whenever your device wants to access your personal information.

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iOS 11.3 is here, and you can finally disable battery throttling

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iOS 11.3 release date, how to download

iOS 11.3, Apple’s third major update to iOS 11 and the one that everyone’s really been waiting for, is finally here. Anyone running iOS 11 on their iPhone or iPad can go download the over-the-air update right now; as ever, just make sure you’ve got a recent backup, a good Wi-Fi connection, and lots of juice left in your battery.

iOS 11.3 brings a bunch of new features to iOS 11 that we’ve broken down below, but there’s really only one thing that most people are looking for: The off switch for Apple’s battery-related performance restrictions.

We’ve had a chance to play around extensively with the new features in iOS 11.3 betas already, so nothing in this new release should come as a surprise. The biggest change is the introduction of several battery health features, which are supposed to make customers happy about Apple’s battery-related performance throttling.

The new features are contained within a new “Battery Health” menu, which is under the “Battery” tab on iOS 11.3. The page only really has two fields: Maximum Capacity, which shows what percentage of the original charge your battery can still hold; and Peak Performance Capacity, which tells you if your phone’s performance is being throttled due to the battery.

On older devices with a worse battery, the phone will show a reduced Maximum Capacity, as well as detail any performance slowdowns due to the decreased battery capacity. On devices that have weaker batteries, the Peak Performance Capability will change to read “This iPhone has experienced an unexpected shutdown because the battery was unable to deliver the necessary peak power. Performance management has been applied to help prevent this from happening again.” A small blue hyperlink then says “Disable,” which lets you manually turn off your iPhone’s performance management.

Apple explained its battery slowdown “feature” in a support document late last year:

“A battery with a high impedance is unable to provide power quickly enough to the system that needs it. A battery’s impedance can increase if a battery has a higher chemical age. A battery’s impedance will temporarily increase at a low state of charge and in a cold temperature environment. When coupled with a higher chemical age, the impedance increase will be more significant.”

“When operations can no longer be supported with the full capabilities of the power management system, the system will perform a shutdown to preserve these electronic components. While this shutdown is intentional from the device perspective, it may be unexpected by the user.”

“This power management works by looking at a combination of the device temperature, battery state of charge, and the battery’s impedance. Only if these variables require it, iOS will dynamically manage the maximum performance of some system components, such as the CPU and GPU in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns. As a result, the device workloads will self-balance, allowing a smoother distribution of system tasks, rather than larger, quick spikes of performance all at once. In some cases, a user may not notice any differences in daily device performance. The level of perceived change depends on how much power management is required for a particular device.”

Aside from battery health, the biggest point of interest for most people has been the new Animoji. Although we’ve become used to new emoji landing with an iOS update, this is the first time that any new Animoji have been released. Apple is blessing us with the power to become a lion, a bear, a dragon, or a skull, which brings the total number of face-mimicking Animoji up to 16.

In addition, iOS 11.3 brings the newest version of Apple’s augmented reality kit, ARKit 1.5 In addition to horizontal surfaces, ARKit will now be able to recognize and place objects on verticals surfaces, like walls and doors. It can recognize the position of a sign or a poster, which Apple says can be utilized for interactive museum exhibits or bringing movie posters to life. Plus, the view from the camera now has a 50% greater resolution and auto-focus.

Full release notes for iOS 11.3 are below:

Augmented Reality

  • ARKit 1.5 allows developers to place virtual objects on vertical surfaces, such as walls and doors, as well as on horizontal surfaces.
  • Supports the detection and integration of images, such as movie posters or works, into augmented reality experiences.
  • The real-world view perceived through the camera has a higher resolution as part of the augmented reality experience.

iPhone Battery Health (Beta)

  • Displays the maximum capacity and optimal battery performance capability of the iPhone.
  • Indicates whether the Performance Management feature, which dynamically handles maximum performance to avoid unexpected shutdowns, is enabled, and provides an option to disable it.
  • Recommends replacing the battery when necessary.
  • To learn more about batteries and performance, visit: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208387

iPad Charging Management

  • Maintains battery status when the iPad is plugged in for extended periods of time, such as when used in a kiosk or point-of-sale system, or stored in a charging cart.


  • Four new Animoji available on the iPhone X: lion, bear, dragon and skull.


  • When an Apple feature wants to use your personal information, an icon now appears with a link to access detailed information about how your data will be used and protected.

Business Chat (Beta) — US Only

  • Communicate with companies to easily ask questions, schedule appointments, and make purchases inside the built-in Messages app on iPhone and iPad

Health Records (Beta) — US Only

  • Access health records and view lab results, immunizations, and more in a consolidated timeline in the Health app

Apple Music

  • Provides a new experience in video clips, including a Revised Video Clips section featuring exclusive video playlists.
  • Find friends with similar tastes through Apple Music’s improved suggestions, which list the genres that the users and mutual friends follow.


  • The main titles now always appear first in “For You.”
  • Watch the best videos selected by News editors.

App Store

  • Four options now allow you to sort the customer reviews on the product pages: the most useful, the most favorable, the most critical or the most recent.
  • The Updates tab now shows the version of the app and the size of the file.


  • Promotes the protection of privacy by notifying usernames and passwords until they have been selected in a web form field.
  • Presents warnings in the smart search field when the user interacts with password entry forms or credit card data on unencrypted web pages.
  • Automatic filling of usernames and passwords is now available in apps’ web views.
  • By default, articles shared via Mail from Safari are now formatted using Reader mode, if the drive is available.
  • In Favorites, folders now have icons for the bookmarks they contain.


  • Adds two Shuangpin keyboard layouts.
  • Supports connected physical keyboards using Turkish F layout.
  • Improves Chinese and Japanese keyboards for better accessibility on devices with a 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch screen.
  • Allows you to return to the keyboard with a simple touch after the dictation.
  • Fixes a problem that could cause the capitalization of the first letter of some words by the automatic correction feature.
  • Fixes an issue on the iPad Pro that prevented the iPad Smart Keyboard from working after connecting to a captive Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • Fixes a problem that could cause undesirable activation of the digital layout on the Thai keyboard in landscape mode.


  • The App Store now supports accessibility options “Bold Text” and “Large Font” for customizing the display.
  • Smart Reversal now supports images on the web and in Mail messages.
  • Enhances the RTT experience and supports RTT service for T-Mobile.
  • Improves app selection on the iPad for VoiceOver users and selection control.
  • Corrects a problem with the incorrect description of the Bluetooth status icon and the Bluetooth icon by VoiceOver.
  • Fixes a problem that may prevent the end of call button from appearing in the Phone app when using VoiceOver.
  • Fixes an issue preventing access to an app’s built-in ranking with VoiceOver.
  • Fixes a problem that may cause distorted audio playback when using real-time listening.

Other Enhancements and Fixes

  • Supports AML technology, which provides more accurate location data to emergency services during an emergency call (in countries where this technology is available).
  • Supports software authentication, which provides developers with a new way to create and activate HomeKit-compatible accessories.
  • Podcasts now plays episodes with a single tap, and you can tap Details to learn more about each one.
  • Improves search performance for users with long notes in Contacts.
  • Improves the performance of Handoff and the universal clipboard when both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
  • Fixes a problem that may prevent incoming calls from activating the screen.
  • Fixes a problem that may prevent or prevent voicemail playback.
  • Fixes an issue that prevents opening a web link in Messages.
  • Fixes a problem that may prevent users from returning to Mail after previewing an attachment to a message.
  • Fixes a problem that could cause the deleted screen to reappear on the locked screen.
  • Fixes a problem that can cause the time and notifications to disappear on the locked screen.
  • Fixes an issue that prevents parents from using Face ID for approving purchase authorization requests.
  • Fixes a problem that could prevent updating of the current weather conditions in Weather.
  • Fixes a problem that could prevent the synchronization of contacts with a vehicle directory when connected via Bluetooth.
  • Fixes a problem that may prevent an audio app from playing content in a vehicle while it was in the background.

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iOS 11.3 launch must be close, as Apple Music gets a brand new Music Videos section

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iOS 11.3 Release Date

Apple must be readying the rollout of final iOS 11.3 version, as the Apple Music app is now showing a dedicated Music Videos section. If that sounds familiar, that’s because Music Videos is supposed to be a new iOS 11.3 feature of Apple’s music subscription service, as long as you’re a paying subscriber.

That’s right, the Music Videos feature isn’t available for free, so if you don’t want to pay for Apple’s music streaming service you’d better go to YouTube to get your music video fix.

In case you are an Apple Music subscriber, then head on to the Browse tab and then the Music Videos section should be nested right underneath Genres. As 9to5Mac points out, the Music Videos feature was never available in any of the iOS 11.3 beta releases, so there was no way of testing it out. Apple, however, decided to quietly release it by updating the Apple Music app, which means the final iOS 11.3 update can’t be too far behind.

On the other hand, it’s not like you couldn’t watch music videos inside the Apple Music app before iOS 11.3. The clips were there for you to discover and enjoy, as long as you were a paying subscriber.

The Music Videos section cleans up the experience, making it even easier to find the music videos you wanted. The section will offer users access to Apple-curated content, including Today’s Video Hits, and the newest music videos available right now. Spotlights on certain artists are also apparently included. The feature should also offer you content based on your existing preferences, which is practically how the Apple Music app works.

As exciting as the feature might be on mobile, the place where it can really shine is the Apple TV.

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Apple’s iPhone slowdown mess spawned 59 class-action lawsuits

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iPhone Slowdown Class Action

Remember Apple’s decision to slow down iPhones with older batteries? The move was meant to prevent unexpected shutdowns, an issue that affected a significant number of iPhones in the fall of 2016. When Apple fixed the matter in early 2017, it wasn’t exactly forthcoming about what that fix entailed.

It was only in late November that iPhone users discovered that iOS would slow down iPhones with old batteries, significantly reducing their performance. Since December, Apple has been apologizing to customers and introducing new programs to help affected users.

However, that didn’t stop iPhone owners from suing the company. No fewer than 59 separate lawsuits were filed since December, The Wall Street Journal reports.

A legal meeting in Atlanta is scheduled for March 29th, as the lawsuits are seeking class-action status. All 59 cases may be combined into a single case. Lawyers may select a lead attorney for the case and a court location, The Journal explains.

Experts say that the number of cases against Apple is unusual. It’s almost triple the number of suits filed in 2010 over the iPhone 4’s “Antennagate” scandal. Back then, Apple settled the case, offering iPhone 4 owners either $ 15 in cash or a free case — that settlement cost Apple $ 315 million according to estimates.

Legal experts think that plaintiffs face an uphill battle in this particular case, as Apple has done enough since acknowledging the issue. Apple lowered the cost of battery replacements for a year and introduced new battery settings in iOS that would allow users to prevent speed throttling.

Even so, Apple might not want afford to spend years defending against plaintiffs. The company may be forced to disclose sensitive information about its products in case the lawsuit goes to trial, and the iPhone would get more bad publicity.

Apple has been arguing for months now that it hasn’t been slowing down iPhones to force users to upgrade to a newer model. Some of the suits allege that Apple’s throttling feature does precisely that.

This year alone, the iPhone slowdown fiasco is estimated to cost $ 10.29 billion in revenue, as more iPhone users will go for battery replacements rather than new iPhones.

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Report: The iPhone X hasn’t spurred an iPhone ‘supercycle’ after all

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iPhone X 2018

Ahead of the iPhone X launch, many analysts and tech observers were of the mind that Apple’s next-gen iPhone would usher in supercycle of iPhone upgrades. And with good reason, the iPhone X marked the first major redesign to the iPhone form factor since the iPhone 6 release back in 2014. The reality, though, is that the iPhone X hasn’t exactly lived up to the hype, at least from a sales perspective.

Though Tim Cook recently mentioned that the iPhone X has been the company’s most popular iPhone model since its release last November, cumulative sales have reportedly been a tad below expectations. With this in mind, Goldman Sachs recently cut its estimate for overall iPhone sales during the current March quarter and the upcoming June quarter.

As detailed by CNBC, analysts at Goldman Sachs now anticipate that iPhone sales during the March quarter will check in at 53 million units. For the upcoming June quarter, Goldman Sachs is projecting iPhone sales to fall somewhere in the range of 40 million. As a point of reference, iPhone sales during the March 2017 quarter checked in at 50.7 million units while iPhone sales during the June 2017 quarter checked in at 41 million units.

The Wall Street analysts said that it has reduced its iPhone shipment forecast by 2.5 percent to 217.3 million units for Apple’s fiscal year which ends on September 30, 2018. It also cut its iPhone shipment expectations for fiscal 2019 and 2020 by 4 percent and 1.8 percent respectively.

The investment bank also revised downwards the rate at which it expects people to replace their devices, even in China. Despite declining replacement rates, Goldman said the number of people with iPhones will continue to grow and currently stands at 631 million units.

As to why the iPhone X hasn’t been selling as well as some were anticipating, a recent survey revealed that many prospective buyers found the $ 999 price tag a bit too high. On a related note, RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani believes that Apple will adjust its pricing accordingly when it reveals its next-gen iPhone lineup later this year. Specifically, Daryanani anticipates that a second-gen iPhone X may retail for $ 899 while the rumored 6.1-inch iPhone with an edgeless LCD display will be priced in the $ 699 range.

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Would you like the iPhone X more if Apple stole this feature from Huawei’s new iPhone clone?

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Apple iPad Event

On the plus side, Apple’s tenth-anniversary iPhone X is the most significant iPhone redesign Apple has ever launched. But on the downside, it’s also the most divisive iPhone Apple has ever released. The first Apple smartphone to start at $ 1,000 features a bold new design that represents Apple’s unique take on the “all-screen” trend currently sweeping over the smartphone industry. Well, it was Apple’s unique take… but now the “notch” is everywhere you look because it’s being ripped off so aggressively and shamelessly by dozens of Android phones.

Speaking of Android phones that aggressively and shamelessly copy Apple’s iPhone X, Huawei on Tuesday unveiled a pair of new iPhone clones. They look pretty nice, though we’ll never see them in the United States since the current administration forced wireless carriers and Best Buy to stop selling Huawei phones. Though the new Huawei P20 and P20 Pro are indeed iPhone copycats, they also introduce a few nifty features, like the P20 Pro’s triple-lens rear camera. But there’s another new feature that users are probably going to like even more, and it could have solved a few problems for Apple had it been included on the iPhone X.

Android phone makers have been copying Apple’s iPhone for nearly a decade now, but things have certainly reached an entirely new level this year. Companies large and small have decided to toss out any semblance of originality and just blatantly rip off Apple’s latest iPhone design. That goes for small China-based phone makers as well as large companies like LG and Asus. In fact, Huawei, the latest company to steal Apple’s iPhone X design, is one of the biggest smartphone companies in the world.

One would think the company’s success would help it afford a fairly decent team of designers, but apparently that isn’t the case. So instead of designing its own flagship phones for the first half of 2018, Huawei outsourced the new design of its P20 and P20 Pro smartphones to Apple. Here’s how they came out:

As an aside, Huawei wasn’t satisfied with only copying Apple’s iPhone X design, so it also ripped off Apple’s AirPods design. Seriously… look at this picture from The Verge and try to keep a straight face:


Anyway, Huawei is a copycat. We get it. That said, the company has an interesting software solution tied to its display notch that some Android fans are going to love. Even though just about every Android company is stealing Apple’s iPhone X design this year, plenty of Android fans hate the new design. Perhaps that’s why Huawei came up with a solution that offers users the best of both worlds.

As we covered a few weeks ago and then again a few days ago, there’s an option in the settings on the P20 and P20 Pro to hide the notch. Here’s what it looks like in the settings app:


Now that the phones have been announced and bloggers have had a chance to play with them, we can see what the option to hide the notch looks like in action:

It’s a solution that seems so obvious. In fact, rumors ahead of the iPhone X’s release suggested that the phone would look just like the P20 does with the notch hidden, with a background that’s always black. Apple decided to fully embrace the notch though, and the iPhone X wears it like a badge of honor… for better or worse.

Many Apple fans like the iPhone X’s design. In fact, even some people who hated the notch when they first saw the iPhone X in leaks have since come around to really like the design once the began to use the phone (cough, cough). Still, there are plenty of other people who hate the look of the notch, and I’ve spoken to a number of Apple fans who refused to upgrade to the iPhone X solely because of the design.

If Apple included an option to hide the notch like Huawei did on its iPhone clone, would it have a meaningful impact on sales? We’ll never know. But considering all the reports that have suggested iPhone X sales have been far lower than Apple was expecting, an option to hide the notch certainly wouldn’t have hurt.

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Apple’s new 9.7-inch iPad is its most affordable yet, supports Apple Pencil

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Apple new 9.7 inch iPad

Apple mixed things up on Tuesday with an education-focused event in Chicago, Illinois. The iPhone maker typically holds events in its home state of California, but opted to use Lane Tech College Prep High School as the venue for its latest keynote. And as expected, the iPad is taking center stage, as Apple has unveiled a new, affordable model with Apple Pencil support that will take on the Chromebook as a tool for students in the classroom.

Despite being its cheapest tablet to date, the new 9.7-inch iPad looks to be a relatively powerful device, with a Retina display, 8-megapixel camera, A10 Fusion processor, 10 hours of battery life, GPS, compass and LTE support. It costs $ 299 for schools, $ 329 for consumers and is available in stores starting today.

In addition to the new hardware, Apple is also preparing new versions of the Pages, Numbers and Keynotes apps, all of which will feature support for Apple Pencil. All three iWork apps will be loaded on the new iPad for free. Plus, Apple revealed that digital book creation is coming to iPad via the Pages app (which, as Apple said, will be loaded on iPads for free), and these user-made books can include photos, videos and Apple Pencil illustrations.

Apple also announced that free iCloud storage for students has been upgraded from 5GB to 200GB, which should be plenty of extra room for Pages documents and Keynote presentations.

The first brand new app that Apple showed off during the presentation is called Schoolwork. This cloud-based app lets teachers assign homework and track the progress of their students. Schoolwork is compatible with several other apps with the ClassKit API, all of which can be used to create assignments. Schoolwork is coming in June.

Finally, Apple also announced a few third-party accessories that will be compatible with the new iPad, including a $ 49 Crayon stylus and a rugged case and keyboard combo, both of which are being made by Logitech.

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Forget the cheap iPad, Apple released something much more important today

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Apple event today: Space gray keyboard OMG!

During an underwhelming education-focused event today, Apple tried to stem the oncoming Chromebook tide in schools by releasing a marginally cheaper iPad with support for the Apple Pencil. A new iPad is always big news, but outside of the event, Apple quietly did something much more significant.

That’s right: The space gray iMac Pro accessories that everyone wants but no one could buy have finally been made available to the general public. For a tiny amount more than Apple charges for the white versions, you can now buy a space gray Magic Keyboard, a space gray Magic Mouse, and a space gray Magic Touchpad. That thundering you hear underneath you? The sounds of the Apple Faithful flocking to their nearest store and throwing credit cards everywhere.

All jokes aside, I’ve always been a big fan of Apple’s keyboard (to the extent that I hacked one to work with my Windows PC), so I’m genuinely excited to be able to buy the space gray version for my workspace. Not only does it show everyone (and my dog) that I’m a real cool nerd, I also suspect the black keys won’t get as grubby nearly as fast.

Of course, this is Apple, so you do have to pay for all that extra black ink. The space gray Magic Keyboard is $ 149, $ 20 more than the regular Magic Keyboard and an undeniably large amount of money to pay for a basic Bluetooth keyboard. The Magic Mouse is $ 99, and the Magic Touchpad is also $ 149. The accessories all come with a coveted black Lightning cable for charging.

When Apple first unveiled the space gray accessories, they were only for the new iMac Pro. Even if you wanted to buy replacements, you had to give Apple a valid serial number to prove that you were cool enough to qualify. The second-hand market got truly out of hand, and at one point the accessories were selling for over $ 2,000 on eBay.

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The Apple Watch is about to get its first ever redesign

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Apple Watch Features

Anchored by the release of the Apple Watch Series 3 — a device which finally introduced cellular connectivity to Apple’s smartwatch lineup — Apple earlier this year disclosed that its wearables business is almost as big as a Fortune 300 company. To put this factoid into context, consider this: revenue from Apple’s wearables division is on pace to surpass revenue from blue-chip companies like Netflix and eBay.

During Apple’s most recent earnings report, Apple CEO Tim Cook boasted that Apple Watch sales during the recent 2017 holiday quarter were record-breaking. Nonetheless, Apple still refuses to disclose specific sales figures, a position that becomes all the more curious as the device only continues to grow in popularity.

That said, a new research note from reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via StreetInsider) claims that Apple Watch shipments this year may increase by as much as 30% year-over-year. As far as specific figures are concerned, Kuo claims that Apple this year may sell as many as 24 million units, up from an estimated 18.5 million units the company sold in 2017.

Beyond that, Kuo anticipates that Apple Watch sales are poised to increase drastically over the next few years. In a best case scenario, Kuo writes that annual Apple Watch unit sales may fall somewhere in the 40-50 million range by 2021.

Kuo’s note reads in part:

We think that once the following requirements are met (within three years), annual shipments of Apple Watch will grow to 40-50mn units: (1) LTE Apple Watch is supported in more countries; (2) besides heartbeat monitoring, more health monitoring functions are added; (3) more FDA approvals are awarded; (4) a more trendy form factor design; and (5) continued lowering of prices for older models.

Specifically, Kuo adds that new Apple Watch models will likely feature improved battery life and a “15% bigger display size.” If true — and Kuo’s track record suggests that it is — this will mark the Apple Watch’s first major redesign since the original model was released.

Beyond that, there have been reports that forthcoming models may incorporate advanced heart-rate monitoring technology. There have even been rumblings that Apple is working on a potential Apple Watch feature that would allow users to take quick EKG and ECG measurements.

Apple – BGR

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