In Barcelona this week, phone makers are showing off hardware running all variety of mobile platforms: Android, Windows 10 Mobile, Cyanogen OS, Ubuntu, and more. That list is missing at least one very prominent operating system, but it won’t be long now before Apple and iOS are at the center of our attention, with rumors pointing to a mid-March hardware launch event. In preparation for its latest gear, Apple’s been hard at work on its next version of iOS, and going back the past few weeks now we’ve been tracking its progress on iOS 9.3. Today we see the release of the latest iOS 9.3 beta, while we also pick up some possibly troubling news about a change for how an important Apple accessory operates.
It’s been another two weeks since iOS 9.3 beta 3, which means that it’s time for beta 4. In contrast to past iOS 9.3 betas which have introduced us to features like Night Shift or added support for things like WiFi calling on Verizon, so far we haven’t picked up on any significant changes with beta 4. Considering Apple’s nearing the point where it needs to lock things down in anticipation of a public release, that’s not really that surprising, though, and we imagine that most of the work is going on behind the scenes in nailing-down as many bugs as possible.
But while many of us are looking forward to that final iOS 9.3 release, not everyone’s so happy, and we’re just noticing some complaints that have been floating around in one form or another since these iOS 9.3 betas got started: Apple appears to be seriously undermining the usefulness of the iPad Pro’s Apple Pencil.
While it used to be that the Pencil could be used for scrolling through UI elements or generally act as a replacement for your finger when doing touchscreen input, that’s now absent. You can still tap things and interact with text, but a lot of users seem to be (rightfully) upset with the dialed-down level of Pencil interaction across the platform.
Maybe this is just a bug, or something Apple’s working out as it prepares to possibly bring Pencil support to the iPad Air 3. But for these changes to be persisting this long into the iOS 9.3 beta cycle could mean that this new behavior is permanent – so far Apple doesn’t seem to have said anything either way.