The Good, Bad, and Useless of It.
Even though the iOS 10.3 update is not being labeled iOS 11, it is still a major update and not one anyone should jump on immediately. This update is substantial because it introduces a new file system called Apple File System, replacing the decades-old HFS system that iOS has used up till now. Reportedly, this new file system will allow app makers to do things they couldn’t do in the past, like improve time stamps, better manage large amounts of data, save disk space, and add stronger encryption.
Because of this, it is imperative that all iOS owners backup their device before upgrading to iOS 10.3!
This is an even more important step for Mobile GIS App users that may have a lot of data stored in their app on the device.
The good news for our mapping industries is that there doesn’t appear to be any Bluetooth connection bugs like the iOS 10.0 upgrade had. We tested the upgrade on an iPad Air 1 connected to an Arrow Gold running SBAS for over an hour with no problem. Next, we ran the Arrow Gold with RTK corrections via a network for over an hour and everything remained good. We also tested the update with a Bad Elf GPS Pro and iSXBlue II with no problems.
The other potentially good components of the iOS 10.3 update likely won’t alter any sort of field data collection workflows. However, one benefit is the supposed better security and encryption capabilities. However, since that goes on behind the scenes, there won’t likely be anything that jumps out to users. For Siri users, this upgrade has some additional capabilities, but it will remain to be seen if it ever translates to using Siri from inside a GIS app.
The Maps app has an added ability for searching for your ‘parked car’. This could be interesting function going forward if it is a function that GIS apps can incorporate allowing the user to get directions to a chosen asset. Another potentially cool function would be to appropriate the Home Apps new ability to report the battery life of accessories but use it for external GPS and GNSS recievers. I would be very cool to just swipe up from the bottom of the screen on an iPad and view the battery life of your Arrow receiver from the Control Pane in real time.
As with many updates, this iOS 10.3 update is about 600MB in size. Some users may have to delete items off their device to clear up enough room for the update to run. The other problem some upgraders are reporting is that it takes longer than usual to update compared to past updates. So don’t panic and try to kill the update or power off the device while the update is ongoing.
The first glaring thing that jumped out with this upgrade that I definitely don’t like is the interconnected ‘Sign In…’ addition in Settings (see image). Essentially, it makes your Apple ID more up front instead of burying it in the App Store app. Although some users may prefer this change, I just preferred when it was more ‘buried’ in the App Store.
Useless of It
For those of us using iPhones for our daily phone, there is some great potential for multiple changes in this update to add cool functions to our daily life. For those of us using an iPhone or iPad paired with a Bluetooth GPS or GNSS receiver, most of these updates are useless. Here are many of the new functions in this iOS 10.3 update that will be mostly useless from a field mapping point of view:
- Siri – support for paying and checking bill status in payment apps, scheduling in ride booking apps, access the functionality of car maker’s apps
- Find My iPhone – track lost AirPods by requesting a sound is played from them
- CarPlay – shortcuts in the status bar for easy access to recent apps, Apple Music Now Playing gives access to Up Next and the currently playing song’s album, daily curated playlists and new music categories in Apple Music
- iTunes – movie rentals
- Settings – a unified view for Apple ID account information, settings and devices V
- Maps – Hourly weather using 3D Touch on the displayed current temperature, searching for your ‘parked car’ (might be cool)
- Calendar – delete unwanted invites and report them as junk
- Home – support for ‘scenes’ using accessories with switches and buttons, battery level status in accessories (would be cool feature if it could integrate with GPS and GNSS receivers and show battery life on the iPad)
- Podcasts – support for 3D Touch and Today widget to access recently updated shows, episodes now shareable to Messages with playback support
As always, regardless of iOS, Android, or Windows, we recommend never making an update within the first month of an OS update. There is no way to tell if it will cause problems for your workflow, external devices, or apps. Better to let others jump on updates and learn that their Mobile GIS app of choice won’t work correctly until that app maker releases an update to work correctly with the new OS update.
My last thought, directed towards Apple and GNSS manufacturers, is to work on the ability for the iPad and iPhone to display the battery life of external GPS and GNSS receivers live. That would be sweet!
*Update: We have heard from at least one client that tried to update to this 10.3 update during this first week and tried to quite the install when it wasn’t finished after 5 minutes. It has locked their iPad in a constant startup gray screen and made it impossible to access any other screen on the iPad. This highlights the need to commit to this long update download and let it run until complete.