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By Dan Moren for Macworld
Over the last almost-decade, Apple’s established a pretty consistent pattern when it comes to its mobile OS. Every year, the company launches a new major version of iOS, usually alongside a flagship smartphone release. After the new software hits, the subsequent months see a flurry of intermittent, smaller updates, usually fixing bugs, patching security, and perhaps even tweaking a minor feature or two.
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. As my savvy colleague Jason Snell pointed out, it was a good way to upend the traditional pattern wherein a beta is released to developers, and media outlets trip over themselves to be the first to find all the features squirreled away within it.
But it also potentially speaks to a shift in the way that Apple’s treating updating iOS, and that could be a very good thing indeed.