Yesterday, I got Apple Classroom up and running at school thanks to the release of Casper 9.9, which supports the new features of iOS 9.3. Here are some early impressions. I’ll mostly focus on the technology and how well it works, rather than how effective it is for teaching since I’ve only had a day or so to play with it.
There are some missing features and issues in this first release (low frame rate for screen monitoring or the use of Bluetooth, for instance), but it sounds like Apple shipped a solid foundation for Classroom on iOS 9.3.
Apple released iOS 9.3.1 earlier today, bringing a fix for a problem related to Universal Links that caused apps to become unresponsive after tapping web links.
Last week, a number of publications reported on a bug that was causing Safari, Mail, and other iOS apps to stop responding after a user tapped on a link to a webpage. As it was outlined by some developers, the issue was likely related to Universal Links – a feature introduced with iOS 9 that allows links to open in their native iOS apps.
Today’s iOS update seems to only include a fix for that problem, and it’s available now in Software Update.
MacRumors is reporting that Apple has released a new build of iOS 9.3 that fixes a setup problem that people with older iOS devices experienced with the initial release of iOS 9.3.
When iOS 9.3 launched, people with iOS devices older than the iPhone 5s or iPad Air experienced problems activating the update. Instead of the usual process where you are asked for your current Apple ID and password, owners of older models of iOS devices were required to input the Apple ID and password used when the device was originally set up. If someone had changed their credentials and couldn’t recall the ones used to set up the device, it could be rendered unusable. As a result, Apple pulled the iOS 9.3 update for older devices shortly after it was launched.
As reported by MacRumors, Apple released an update to iOS 9.3 (build 13E237) a short time ago that addresses the activation problem on older devices. With the new build of iOS 9.3, people with older devices who didn’t previously update to version 9.3 should be able to do so now via an over-the-air update.
One of the core changes of iOS 9.3 is Education, and a big part of the updated framework is the Classroom app. Apple has now released Classroom on the App Store, and it’s a free download for iPads running iOS 9.3.
Classroom is a powerful new iPad app that helps you guide learning, share work, and manage student devices. It supports both shared and one-to- one environments. You can launch a specific app, website, or textbook page on any device in the class, or share student work on a TV, monitor, or projector using Apple TV. You can even reset a student’s password, see which apps students are working in, and assign a specific Shared iPad for each class.
Apple also published a PDF document detailing the features of Classroom, including Shared iPad and Screen View. You can read it here.
With an announcement in January, Apple unveiled iOS 9.3, a surprisingly feature-rich update to iOS 9 with major changes for education and several tweaks to the user experience of system apps. After the generally positive response to iOS 9 and the 9.1 and 9.2 updates, few were expecting Apple to bring more features to iOS 9 ahead of WWDC and the (likely) unveiling of iOS 10.
For the past two months, I’ve been using iOS 9.3 on my two primary devices (an iPad Pro and iPhone 6s Plus) starting with the first beta, and I’ve been keeping track of all the changes – big and small – that Apple is bringing with their latest iOS release. Below, you’ll find a collection of everything I’ve discovered.
Update: Here’s our in-depth overview of iOS 9.3.
As widely expected, Apple has today confirmed the official release date of iOS 9.3 at a media event held at its campus in Cupertino. iOS 9.3 will be released later today for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Unveiled with a surprise announcement in January and available in beta for developers and public testing since, iOS 9.3 is a major update to iOS 9 that includes notable additions for the visual experience of iOS, changes to Notes and Apple Music, and big improvements to iOS for Education.
The biggest change in iOS 9.3 is Night Shift, a new display mode that reduces the blue light emission of a device’s display to prevent eye strain and help get better sleep. Night Shift is highly reminiscent of f.lux, a popular blue light reduction tool for OS X that was also available for a short period of time on iOS through sideloading before Apple asked the company to pull it.
Also new in iOS 9.3 is the ability to protect notes with a password and grant third-party apps access to your Apple Music library to manage playlists and add songs to the library. The former takes advantage of a unique password and Touch ID to protect notes you don’t want to show by default; the latter is based on a new privacy screen and it allows apps to add songs from the iTunes Store (not arbitrary audio files) to your Apple Music library.
Finally, iOS 9.3 brings some deep improvements to the education framework for iPads in the classroom. As we outlined after its announcement, iOS 9.3 will allow multiple students to use the same iPad with support for multiple profiles, it’ll offer a brand new Classroom app for teachers to manage activity and assignments, and it’ll allow school admins to create Managed Apple IDs for students through Apple School Manager.
iOS 9.3 will be released later today through iTunes and Apple’s over-the-air software update. We’ll have a full overview of the changes in a separate article after its launch.
You can also follow all of the MacStories coverage of today’s Apple’s keynote through our March 21 Keynote hub, or subscribe to the dedicated March 21 Keynote RSS feed.