“This is the biggest iOS release ever for our users,” said Craig Federighi at this year’s WWDC when introducing the next version of iOS. The new version will include ten major new features, including an improved user experience, home automation, and significant changes to a number of key apps like Apple Music and Messages.
First and foremost, Apple has slightly changed the interface in iOS 10. Notifications look different and heavily utilise 3D Touch, allowing you to interact and respond to the app immediately. For example, being able to send a message to your friend from the lock screen, without unlocking the phone. There is also a new “raise to wake” feature. As the name suggests, it basically wakes the phone when it detects if it is being lifted so you can look at notifications.
Widgets adopt the new Notifications look and also utilises 3D Touch, but can also display information that don’t require you to launch the app at all. The WWDC demo featured being able to see ESPN scores and video highlights without opening the ESPN app.
For developers, the biggest news would be that Apple will be opening Siri to developers – allowing users the ability to interact with apps through voice, such as ordering an ride from point A to point B from Uber or Lyft. It’ll be interesting to see how developers will incorporate Siri into their apps. In addition, Apple has added contextual awareness to Siri. This allows it to provide more intelligent suggestions based on location, calendar availability or contacts.
A lot of key apps get major updates in iOS 10. Apple Maps get a brand new, cleaner UI design and apps will be able to integrate themselves with Maps through extensions (for example, booking a table at a restaurant). It will also be a bit more proactive, suggesting routes based on routine or appointments in your calendar. It will also factor in traffic in your route.
Photos adds new object and scene recognition so you are able to find and sort photos on your device – though Apple notes that all the recognition is done locally and not uploaded to some server. It will also adds a new feature called Memories. This scans your photos; group certain photos based on events, trips and people; and present them in a “beautiful collection”. And similar to HTC Zoe, it will also produce a movie clip that adds titles, theme music and “cinematic transitions.”
The Phone app will incorporate voicemail transcription, caller ID extension for smal alerts, and integration with VoIP services. Apple Music and Apple News also get major redesigns to make navigation easier, but their core functionality remains the same.
But the most significant changes come to Messages. You can now send messages with animations to make them more expressive, and send handwritten notes. As well, you can send messages written in “invisible ink” – a message that is revealed only after a friend swipes over it. Tapping on a link will open the content inline, and users can play video or audio without leaving the conversation
But most significantly, developers will now be able to integrate their apps to Messages – for example, being able to send personalised GIFs, send payments, schedule meetings or dinner. This will make Messages even more powerful.
And, for whatever reason, Apple has incorporated emoji autosuggestions. Think of it as a thesaurus for emoji. I don’t know why it’s a thing, but no doubt it will become a thing and then every other OS will be incorporating this.
The developer preview of iOS 10 is available today, with a public beta coming soon in July. The full release is coming out in spring as a free upgrade to the iPhone 5 or later, all iPad Air and Pro models, the iPad 4th generation, iPad mini 2 or later, and iPod touch 6th generation or later.