New Year, New Upgrades: What Apple Updates to Expect in 2016

As any Apple enthusiast knows, an even year, means even better Apple updates coming to your device. With Apple releasing its latest operating system (OS) in beta and possible iPhone 7 features being leaked, those following Apple trends need look no further.

iOS 9.3

This time around Apple has geared most of its updated features towards an educational environment. iPads with iOS 9.3 will presumably ship directly to schools and will support multiple users on shared devices. Much like its competitors, Chromebook and some Window Devices, you will be able to create roaming profiles that will give users access to their own set of data and apps. Using Photo ID, a student can quickly log in by identifying their own photo.

  • Classroom App- This app promises to keep the teacher in control and the students engaged in learning, without a heavy reliance on IT support.  The Classroom App can help assist with password resets and access locking controls to keep students out of sites or apps they shouldn’t have access to.
  • Screen View- Lets the teacher know exactly how a student is performing on an assignment as the student is actively working on it. For collaborative assignments and group discussions, a student’s device can be projected onto an Apple TV with no internet connection necessary (if AirPlay is utilized).
  • Apple School Manager- Distributing volumes of books and apps throughout a building or district will be simplified by using School Manager through a web browser.

You won’t need to head back to the classroom to experience the latest OS.  Apple will update some non-educational features that we can look forward to as well:

  • Night Shift- Studies have shown that the light given off from electronic devices impact the signals our brain needs to tell our bodies its time to sleep. Apple has addressed this with Night Shift. Depending on the time of day of your location, the display will change the white balance from cool to warm to help your body shift towards nighttime.
  • Secured Notes- You will now be able to secure any notes that contain sensitive information with your password or fingerprint.
  • Health App Improvements- Greater support for third party health apps and trackers. The Health app will become your dashboard to view your health metrics in one place. One can easily expect the Health App will continue expanding as a recent study by ITOnline shows that more people are choosing health apps as their preferred resource over physicians.
  • CarPlay Integration- If this new year also finds you in the market for a new car, be sure to check out the models that have CarPlay Integration. Through voice, touch and physical controls, you will have easier access to your music, eBooks, contacts, and messages while driving. To be determined on whether this will help or promote distracted driving.

iPhone 7

If Apple follows its history of release dates, we can anticipate a whole new phone design to be released in September 2016. Likely to be even thinner than previous versions, will iPhone battery life be impacted? Likely so, as  a thinner device means they will have a limited space for larger battery. Other rumored features that have been leaked:

  • No Headphone Jack- In an effort to make the iPhone 7 the thinnest phone yet, the headphone jack would have to be removed. Instead your headphones would now connect either through the iPhone’s lightning port or wirelessly. The impact this could have on sound quality will be something Apple will need address if this comes to fruition.
  • Wireless Charging- While still speculation at this point, if the lightning port is used for audio, then there will be no way to charge the phone while headphones are plugged in. This may suggest that wireless charging will become a feature released in the final product.
  • Water Resistant- To address iPhone owners common fear of dropping their phone in liquid, Apple could focus on a water and dust proof body. Moving away from the metallic casing used in iPhone 6s and 6s Plus could strengthen the device and its water resistant capability.

While we will have to wait for confirmation from Apple to know exactly what we can expect in its latest OS and phone, rest assured that Apple will continue to bring you innovative technology (Li-Fi wireless) and exciting new ways to stay connected.

(image via Sean MacEntee/Flickr