In what has taken many by surprise, Apple has unveiled a preview of iOS 9.3 ahead of its usual March event. Whilst we wouldn’t normally dwell on a ‘point’ upgrade to iOS, there are some features that are very interesting to us and show what could be coming to benefit the enterprise in a future version of iOS.

Many companies that we work with, who have deployed iPads, will often have multiple users per device, across a team. As a work around to the lack of native support within iOS for multi-user sign on, the apps we build for companies with multiple users per iPad require users to log into the apps; providing them with a tailored experience.

Starting with the education market, Apple is introducing a new multi-user support mechanism for shared iPads in a classroom. With the ‘Shared iPad’ feature, it’s possible for students to log into any iPad in a classroom and make it their own. This is likely made possible by Apple’s efforts over the past few years to utilise cloud technologies and app thinning to optimise space on its devices.

Apple has always had a long history in the education market. As with last year’s improvements to iOS 9, bringing true multi-tasking through Split Screen, Picture in Picture and Slide Over to the iPad experience, 9.3 is a release largely focused on enhancing iOS for the education market. More information can be found here.

We feel confident that many CIOs will be looking at what Apple announces for the education market with great interest. Bringing this type of shared support to iPad in the enterprise market could be hugely powerful.

Elsewhere with iOS 9.3, Apple is introducing the ability to secure individual notes with password and Touch ID protection.The Notes app is, for many people, where they enter potentially sensitive data such as passwords, financial details or medical info. By adding the ability to secure notes, Apple is making its devices even safer when devices are being used.

One of the biggest changes coming to 9.3 is a feature called Night Shift. Over the past few years, there have been an increasing number of studies that have shown that using mobile devices at night disturbs our sleep, affecting sleeping patterns. To help solve this, Night Shift uses the device’s clock and geolocation to work out when it’s sunset in your location. This will then shift the colours in the display to the warmer end of the spectrum, helping us sleep better.

Whilst this last feature isn’t technically an enterprise feature, many of us are guilty of checking or responding to emails before we go to bed. If this means that we get a better night’s sleep, that’s got to be a good thing.

We’ll likely find out what else Apple has up its sleeves, should it do an event in the Spring.

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