​Apple's iOS 9.3 features education, blue light, CarPlay improvements

Apple's iOS 9.3 beta adds a bevy of iPad features designed to court educators and admins who have been gravitating to Google's Chromebooks.

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Apple announced the preview for iOS 9.3 with a emphasis on education features for the iPad, a screen that adjusts its blue light exposure based on the time of day and enhancements to CarPlay.

The company offered details on its iOS 9.3 beta for developers and the preview features are notable for education. Google and Apple are duking it out in educational institutions with the search giant using Chromebooks and Google Apps as its beachhead. Apple is going the iPad route as its biggest education play. A recent report noted that Google is schooling Apple and Microsoft in education.

As for the education features Apple is adding the following to iOS 9.3 with an initial preview of the following:

  • Tools to share iPads among students. Students will be able to log-in to an iPad and have access to apps, books and documents and sync among devices and content.
  • An intelligent caching tool allows teachers to use Photo ID to assign shared devices.
  • There are also tools for younger students to simplify log-ins.
  • Software called Classroom that can launch apps for a class at the same time.
  • A central admin tool to make it easier to deploy iPads as well as manage accounts.

On the blue light front, something Amazon has been focusing on for its Kindle Fire reading edition, Apple is launching NightShift. The description here appears to be aimed at automating blue light exposure so it doesn't interfere with sleep. Apple said:

Many studies have shown that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep. Night Shift uses your iOS device's clock and geolocation to determine when it's sunset in your location. Then it automatically shifts the colors in your display to the warmer end of the spectrum, making it easier on your eyes. In the morning, it returns the display to its regular settings.

As for the CarPlay features, iOS 9.2 will make it easier to customize music from Apple Music and improve Maps integration.

Other feature updates cover Apple News personalization, health app improvements and using Touch ID to secure Notes.

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