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Apple Previews iOS 11.3

Apple Newsroom on what’s new in the upcoming iOS 11.3:

Business Chat is a new way for users to communicate directly with businesses right within Messages. This feature will launch in Beta with the public availability of iOS 11.3 this spring, with the support of select businesses including Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo. With Business Chat, it’s easy to have a conversation with a service representative, schedule an appointment or make purchases using Apple Pay in the Messages app. Business Chat doesn’t share the user’s contact information with businesses and gives users the ability to stop chatting at any time.

iMessage is one of Apple’s most underestimated assets. If iMessage were a startup, with exactly the same users, usage (a.k.a. “engagement”), and features, it could be worth tens of billions of dollars. But because it’s not a startup, Apple is under no pressure to monetize the service in ways that annoy users.

On the battery front:

Additionally, users can now see if the power management feature that dynamically manages maximum performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns, first introduced in iOS 10.2.1, is on and can choose to turn it off. This feature can be found in Settings → Battery and is available for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Being able to disable dynamic performance throttling is new — if I recall correctly, all Apple had promised last month was that iOS would soon show more information about your battery. [Update: The first mention of a switch to control this behavior was in this interview Tim Cook gave to ABC News last week.]

Health:

The new Health Records feature brings together hospitals, clinics and the existing Health app to make it easy for consumers to see their available medical data from multiple providers, whenever they choose. Patients from participating medical institutions will have information from various institutions organized into one view and receive regular notifications for their lab results, medications, conditions and more. Health Records data is encrypted and protected with a passcode.

This could be pretty awesome if it’s adopted widely by medical professionals. Apple has more information about the program in a separate announcement.

Music:

Apple Music will soon be the home for music videos. Users can stream all the music videos they want without being interrupted by ads.

Gee, I wonder what video platform that’s a reference to?

This whole 11.3 announcement is interesting. Some of these features — like Business Chat — are things I might have expected they’d hold for iOS 12. It’s almost like Apple held a little mini-WWDC over the last two days via Newsroom posts.