Apple News curation tweaks
Apple News is a little more personal and a little easier to navigate in iOS 9.3, though it doesn't address its biggest design problems, like iOS 10 promises to do in September.
Instead, the pre-loaded Flipboard clone now has a more personalized "For You" section based on your interests, and new suggestions with trending topics and Editor's Picks.
It's more streamlined now because stories with a video can be played straight from the feed, and the iPhone now supports a landscape view for everyone. The entire app loads faster, too.
None of this helps the fact that Apple News is an extremely siloed app. I really dig Samsung's easier-to-access Flipboard integration, which occupies the leftmost homescreen of its devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy Tab S2. But this is a start.
New Apple Health dashboard
Apple Health is becoming a little less lifeless with the iOS 9.3 update thanks to new, worthwhile third-party app suggestions and Apple Watch integration. It's about time.
Tracking down which third-party apps deliver the metrics you want is going to be easier because Health makes suggestions in its existing categories, like Weight, Workouts or Sleep.
The next time you go to Health to track your weight, you're going to see "Apps for Tracking Weight" at the bottom with at least five alternate apps you may want to try instead. Sadly, there's still no Fitbit integration on the horizon.
The dashboard is about to change if you own an Apple Watch. Apple sensibly added its Activity metrics of move, exercise and stand to the Health app's opening menu. Don't be alarmed. The separate Activity still exists if you prefer that interface.
CarPlay Music and Maps enhancements
Apple CarPlay is slowly driving alongside the shoulder of the highway, trying to pick up speed by rolling out in 2016 and forthcoming 2017 cars and trucks.
The iOS 9.3 CarPlay update gives it a minor boost, starting with Apple Music tweaks. New (expert-picked) and For You (preference-based) songs are now part of the music menu.
The Nearby feature found in Apple Maps on the iPhone and Apple Watch is also coming to CarPlay cars, helping you find points of interests when you need them the most.
You'll have to wait until iOS 10 to take advantage of a smarter, third-party-app-understanding Siri in the car. She'll be able to handle both messaging and VoIP apps outside of Apple's software suite.
Minor iOS 9.3 changes
That's everything Apple will tell you about iOS 9.3 upfront, but the software update has a few more goodies buried within its app-filled menus.
We've discovered new 3D Touch shortcuts for preloaded apps: Weather, App Store, Stocks, Health, Compass and Settings are all a tiny bit easier to navigate in iOS 9.3.
Need to tell Siri something in Hebrew, Finnish or Malay? Apple's personal assistant now understands those languages, bringing the total up to 37 languages.
In the US, Verizon customers can take advantage of Wi-Fi calling, as beta 3 finally adds this long-promised feature. Sure, Verizon's signal is often strong, but even it falters inside tall skyscrapers.
Finally, the iOS 9.3 release notes don't address the 1970 glitch that bricks your iPhone and iPad if the date is set to January 1, 1970, but it appears to be gone in the final version of the software.
With iOS 9.3 out now for public consumption, everyone can download it and fall asleep while reading your iPhone or iPad in bed.
- Next version: Everything we expect from iOS 10