Apple has announced the next major update to its operating system for iPhone and iPad, iOS 10. The new version ships with a larger number of updates which include a revamped Messages app, Siri support for third party apps, improved Spotlight and notification center, 3D touch widgets, new Maps, HomeKit and Music apps and much more.
Here is our quick rundown to bring you up to speed with all the new features and updates in iOS 10. We will be doing individual feature reviews with time so stay tuned for those.
- Messages app has received tons of updates which make it a complete Snapchat/WhatsApp/Messenger hybrid. It has digital touch support to create Snapchat like images and videos, an App Store for stickers, reactions for indivdual message bubbles, larger emojis, smart emoji suggestions, different chat bubble types, invisible ink, hand written messages and even a throwback of sorts to the winks and nudges from the MSN Messnger era with animations that take over the entire screen.
- Notifications now look more like the ones on Apple Watch. You can finally 3D Touch in the nofitications center to clear all of them – non-3D Touch iOS users are out of luck. Users can now raise iPhone to wake it and view the notifications on the lock screen. 3D Touch any notification on the lock screen and it expands for more interaction. For example, you can continue a message conversation right from the lock screen.
- Widgets now work right from 3D Touch. Apple demonstarted the ESPN app which showed live video playback in the 3D Touch menu right on the home screen. So yo ucan do a lot without even opening up the app. Really cool! Sucks for non-3D Touch users as they will not have access to this feature.
- Siri for third party apps
- Improved Quick Type keyboard now supports contextual predictions so it can scan your chat and give you quick suggestions. It also supports multilingual typing without switching keyboards.
- Photos app now supports Face recognition. It can also detect and let you search for objects inside your photos. Similar to Google Photos but it works offline, on device. New Moments feature also brings back past memories and lets users create slideshows to share with friends. Apple also supports editing and image stabilization for Live Photos now which pretty much makes Google’s Motion Stills useless.
- Maps app has received a design update and looks much better now. Navigation has also receive a facelift, and like Google Maps, supports pit stops, alternate routes in case of traffic and muc more.
- Apple Music has received a design makeover. It now sports a much sleaker design, smarter and easier navigation (FINALLY!) and song lyrics. It is easier to view your downloaded music, browse the catalogue and jump to the artist/album from the now playing screen. This is what Apple Music should have been from the start.
- Apple News has been redesigned and looks similar to the Music app. Big and bold fonts and large images which make it nicer to use.
- Home app deserves a ‘finally’. Apple had announced Homekit a long time back and a lot of products support it now but they took their sweet time to create a centralized app for it. The app supports Scenes, Rooms, geo-fencing and a lot more.
- Extensions support for Phone app and voicemail transcription. VOIP apps can now integrate with the Phone app similar to FaceTime.
- Health app has a much better looking design now and integrates content from the Activity app much nicely now.
Other changes include updated (and nicer looking) back and forward links for app switching, which don’t hide the WiFi and battery meters anymore. Videos app also has adjustable playback quality option in Settings. The Control Center still does not have adjustable toggles but the music section has been hidden to a swipe away. Apple has also included a few new widgets which include Music, Activity, Photos Memories and a few of them for Maps.
Global design updates include slightly different but better animations, rounded corners, return of big colorful buttons and bold fonts. During testing so far, I have to say that I like this design a lot more over the iOS 7 era design. There are still places where it seems that Apple has to update the design but they are headed in the right direction.
Apple has focused a lot on AI in iOS 10, without the need of uploading anything to the cloud for processing. This is evident in keyboard, Photos and Messages updates. It is yet to be seen how well it works in practice, compared to Google’s way of keeping user profiles on their servers.
iPhone 4s and iPad 2 will not get iOS 10 as they are based on the A5 chip. iOS 10 is available for download as a developer beta today. The public beta is expected to ship to users in July while the final version will be made available this fall.
Stay tuned for my in-depth review of different apps and updates over the next few days.
P.S. iCloud’s free tier is still 5GB.