Apple has seeded iOS 10.3 beta 6 to developers and public beta testers less than a week after beta 5, which could indicate that we’re approaching the final stages before a full rollout to Apple device users in the coming weeks.
We’ve covered most of the major features that came with the first few beta versions, like Find My AirPods, the implementation of Apple File System (APFS), iCloud Analytics, tweaks for Siri, CarPlay improvements and more.
When combined with all the other changes in previous versions of iOS 10, Apple has leapt forward from iOS 9 in a big way. But with iOS 10.3 will also come several changes to the App Store. One of these is the ability for developers to respond to customer reviews, which is a completely new feature. What’s more, users will now be able to upvote or downvote a particular review as either being “Helpful” or “Not Helpful.” Ideally, this should help the most relevant and useful reviews surface to the top of the list.
Apple is also making the review process a lot tighter. They’re going to provide a “master switch” so users can choose not to be bothered by requests from developers to review their apps. There will also be a cap on how many times a developer can ask their app to be reviewed. iOS 10.3 will also bring in the ability to leave a review from within the app rather than being redirected to the App Store each time.
Hopefully, these changes will enhance user experience, while allowing developers to defend their apps from really bad reviews.
With iOS 10.3 also comes HomeKit support for smart lighting, warnings about apps that won’t work on future iOS versions, new animation when opening or closing an app, better functionality in SiriKit and an Apple ID profile within Settings.
The tighter timeline we’re seeing for beta versions suggest that Apple is nearing the end of the test cycle, and could be ready to release iOS 10.3 to the public in a matter of weeks. That should be validated by subsequent beta versions consisting primarily of bug fixes and minor tweaks.
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