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Apple brings diverse emoji to the iPhone with release of iOS 8.3

Apple brings diverse emoji to the iPhone with release of iOS 8.3

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After several months of beta testing, Apple has released iOS 8.3 to all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch owners today. The latest update includes a ton of new emoji characters; Apple has redesigned the emoji selector to accommodate all the new choices — which also include more diverse options. Aside from the big emoji bump, iOS 8.3 adds support for Siri in a handful of new languages, allowing Apple's personal assistant to operate in countries where it previously couldn't. Siri can also place calls that immediately start from the speakerphone rather than requiring users to toggle it on manually, and the update claims to improve stability, overall performance, and packs in bug fixes for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, third-party keyboards, and a host of other apps.

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There are more changes: Apple now allows users to report junk messages, and you've also now got the option of completely filtering out iMessages that don't come from your contacts. iCloud Photo Library — which officially launched on OS X Yosemite today — is now out of beta. If you've got an iPhone 6 Plus, you'll now find dedicated formatting keys for bold and underline in the landscape keyboard. And speaking of the keyboard, if your Safari searches lately, you'll be happy to know that Apple has adjusted to keyboard and fixed the spacebar to avoid the maddening issue. There are many, many more bug fixes and improvements in here, so clearly Apple is working hard to solidify iOS 8's reliability as the company prepares to shift focus to the next major version, iOS 9, which we'll likely see unveiled in June.

In other Apple news: We spent a day with the Apple Watch