“It’s pretty rare for Apple to use these point releases to add more substantial new features, but that’s just what happened this past week, when the company not only put out a beta version of iOS 9.3 for developers, but also posted a page of the not-insignificant features included in it.”
Dan Moren examines the interesting timing of the release of a new beta version of iOS, which features a web page describing its new features. But what Dan omits is the fact that this release seems to fit well with the many rumors that suggest an immanent release of both the Apple Watch 2 and a new “c” iPhone, the iPhone 6c (or whatever it will be called).
To be fair, the handful of features that Apple highlights are nothing to shout about (unless you’re in education), and one feature that Apple doesn’t underscore on that page is the ability to pair more than one Apple Watch to an iPhone. This makes sense if the Apple Watch 2 is to be released.
I found it surprising that there was a lot of chatter wondering what the point of this would be, but it seems obvious to me. You bought an Apple Watch Sport, and, with the Apple Watch 2, you like it enough that you want to buy a new model. But you want to be able to, for example, use the Sport when you work out or run, and use a fancier stainless steel model as a dress watch. Right now, you simply cannot do this. But with iOS 9.3, you’ll be able to “Auto Switch” watches, so you will be able to have two (or even more) watches.
So iOS 9.3 is obviously timed to match the release of the Apple Watch 2, which may or may not mark a shift in the overall release schedule of iOS. It sort of makes sense; major updates to iOS are tied to releases for iPhones, but we can now expect minor updates to also bring new features for other devices, such as, in this case, the Apple Watch and the iPad (for education).