On Monday, Apple kicked off their Worldwide Developer’s Conference with a keynote that detailed the latest in software updates for their four platforms (iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.) The next-generation software update for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch is called iOS 10 and it comes with several new features.
The star of the iOS 10 announcement was the Messages and the major of its updates are all about the user experience. The layout of conversation is redesigned with pictures of the person you’re talking to on top, more options for connection rather than just a text message, and integration with Digital Touch inspired by the Apple Watch. Messages can be sent with bubble effects which changes how your bubble messages appear, invisible ink will hide message text and photos until your friend swipes to reveal them, Tapback allows a thumbs up, heart, and four other options to attach to a previously received message, and stickers can be attach to any message or sent independently. Like the Facebook Messenger app, developers can design sticker packs or create specific iMessage apps.
Apple also focused on enhancing the experience with adding emojis to messages. If you are like me, you likely forget to add an emoji since a) it is difficult and takes a while to find the right one and b) you simply do not think about it. In the iOS 10 Messages app, Apple lets you “emojify” text by automatically highlighting words that can be turned into emojis. They also are three times larger and Predictive Text will recommend them as you type.
Here are a few other updates to Messages:
- Calendar events created from Messages now take more details from the conversation like location and topic (i.e. Breakfast at Tiffany’s Restaurant)
- Handwrite messages that animate like ink on paper
- View richer messages with photos, videos, and links expanded in your conversation
- When sharing pictures, you will see what’s currently in the viewfinder of your camera and other photos
Apple applied their focus of attention to detail to the Music app by redesigning it with simplicity in mind. As the rumors has previously suggested, there are more black and whites in the app and the only color comes from album artwork. The tabs along the bottom were also refreshed with new details. The “Library” tab replaces the “My Music” tab and is now located in the leftmost position. It shows playlists, songs, downloaded music, and lyrics. The “For You” tab is home to music chosen based on your interests, likes, and favorite music. It will recommend discovery music (songs picked just for you), with recently played, daily curated playlist, and the previous “Connect” tab is now located here. The “Browse” tab is new name for the “New” tab and it is general music for all. You will find hot albums, new music, curated playlists, top charts, and more. The “Radio” tab stays relatively the same with live radio from Beats 1, the schedule for upcoming shows, and genre-based stations.
The Photos app now uses advanced artificial intelligence for searching, group memories together, and facial recognition. The app supports Advanced Search which allows you to search by people or objects in your picture. With facial, object, and scene recognition, searching for pictures with “horses” will show every picture in Photos with a horse in it. Old memories are automatically grouped together by location, people involved, and time to show previous trips and arrange them by categories. If you took a trip to Las Vegas and have not gone through your pictures and videos yet, the Photos app will automatically do this for you based on the time and location of your visit. It will, then, automatically create a movie with your photos and videos to play similar to creating a Slideshow with the current Photos app.
Lock Screen and Widgets
Apple also spent time redesigning the Lock screen, widgets, Notification Center, and Control Center. The iPhone’s Lock screen is automatically woken up when raising up the phone without pressing any buttons. The well-known “Slide to Unlock” feature to unlock the phone has been replaced with “Press Home to open.” Notifications on the Lock screen no longer dim the background, but instead are translucent bubbles and they are interactive with 3D Touch. The Camera app is activated by sliding left on the Lock screen and the Widgets view is activated by sliding right. Widgets have been moved from the Notification Center, which is now reserved only for notifications, and moved to the Lock Screen and Today view of the Home screen. Widgets are expanded to show more content, including video, and have a different layout. Notifications in Notification Center can be cleared with a new clear all function.
Additionally, Control Center has been updated (finally) with a better layout. Apple removed the music settings and moved all the functions up one level. Night Shift now has its own space. The music settings are still present in Control Center, but they have their own Control Center window which is activated by swiping across Control Center. Plus the music-only Control Center also display album artwork.
- Maps: all-new design with search on the bottom (instead of the top); Proactive suggestions that suggest locations based on your history and calendar events; search along routes for gas stations, restaurants, and more; traffic displayed enroute; weather and temperature shown when driving
- Home: this new app allows you to automate your home with HomeKit-supported accessories like shades, lights, thermostat, door locks, and more; set up scenes with your favorite preferences based on time of day
- Keyboard: contextual predictions with Siri Intelligence that will suggest a phone number or email address when you are sharing contact details with a friend; multilingual typing
- Phone: VoIP apps will automatically show on the Lock screen when receiving a phone call (like a regular phone call) and show in Recents and Favorites in Phone; voicemail transcript beta; third-party apps can suggest who is calling with incoming phone call
- Health: updated user interface; videos are shown in metrics to explain what they do
- App Store: Categories tab returned
- Stock apps can now be deleted (time to get rid of those apps you never use)
- Swift Playgrounds app allows iPad users to learn Swift code and it’s free to download
Release Date and Compatibility
The software update is currently available for developers, it will be coming to public beta testers in July, and be released to the public in September. The following devices can upgrade:
- iPhone 5/5c/5s
- iPhone 6/6 Plus
- iPhone 6s/6s Plus
- iPhone SE
- iPad mini 2/3/4
- iPad 4, iPad Air/Air 2
- iPad Pro (9.7″ and 12.9″)
- iPod touch 6th generation
There are so many updates with iOS 10 that we could not limit it to one post. Check out The Top Features of iOS 10 and Smaller, Less Known, Features of iOS 10 (both of which are coming soon.)