You’ll be seeing less of your friends’ railing against verified brands on Twitter starting this spring, if a new iOS feature proves to be a hit. With the forthcoming iOS 11.3 update, Apple is planning to introduce Business Chat, a Messages feature that lets user chat directly with customer service channels via text.
Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s, and Wells Fargo are already onboard for a beta trial, perhaps seeing an advantage in finding an easy way to privately reach frustrated customers, not to mention an opportunity to upsell users via integrated mobile purchases with Apple Pay. If that sounds a little invasive for the customer, Apple is looking to act as a kind of gateway for the communications, and says that Business Chat won’t share user’s actual contact information with participating businesses, while users can opt out of a given chat at any moment.
iOS 11.3 will also expand on the sophisticated imaging capabilities powered by the latest’ iPhones’ AI and dual lens systems. A new version of ARKit, Apple’s Augment Reality system, will deliver 50 percent stronger resolution and auto-focus, as well as improved spatial mapping for vertical and irregularly-shaped surfaces, while four new icons have been added to the iPhone’s roster of Animojis (animated emojis) – a lion, bear, dragon, or skull – opening up a whole other world of possibilities for interacting with companies on Business Chat.
Other features of the iOS upgrade include improved battery diagnostics, a health records management system for the Health App, HomeKit software authentication tools for developers, and a automatic geolocation system for emergency calls where Advanced Mobile Location is supported.