A wealth of emotion-based upgrades for the mobile OS, from photo ‘memories’ to more emojis
Apple’s new iOS is out next week – 13 September to be exact – and here’s our guide to the biggest features coming up in the new OS. It’s a free download although if you buy a new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus it will be pre-installed of course.
The iOS 10 update will be available for iPhone 5S or later, iPad Mini 2 or later. iPod Touches must be of the sixth generation or newer.
1. User experience just got turned up to 11
Lock screen notifications can be viewed just by picking up your iPhone in iOS 10 (a bit like the always-on feature available on Android phones), and notifications and widgets have been given a cleaner, more modern-looking design in the new software as well.
The OS also lets you interact with apps right from the lock screen, so you can quickly jump into a conversation thread or Uber map for example. The Control Centre has been simplified as well, though there aren’t any major design tweaks elsewhere in iOS 10.
2. Developers now get to hang out with Siri
This year developers get access to Siri, which means you’ll soon be able to use the clever digital assistant to get into other apps besides the ones that Apple itself makes – imagine getting Siri to write out a WhatsApp message, order an Uber ride and so on.
It’s going to significantly increase the number of tasks Siri can handle and was an inevitable move considering how deeply Google Now is integrating itself into Android and the apps that run on it. Siri will also be compatible with CarPlay with iOS 10 too.
3. And while we are talking Siri… the super assistant gets smarter
Apple is adding “Siri intelligence” to the iOS keyboard as well – the company says the deep learning behind Siri is going to be used to improve the accuracy of autocorrect to better work out what you’re trying to say before your fingers have had chance to tap it out.
On top of that, related contact information and calendar events will pop up in contexts where you might need them, and you can drop in your current location as well. It should make the iOS 10 keyboard a lot smarter and a lot more useful inside any of your apps.
4. Photos get a refresh and more emotional
Apple knows it has to up its image game with Google Photos on the scene (for both Android and iOS), and the Photos app included in iOS 10 will have some of the automatic tagging and smart recognition features that Google’s app has become known for.
It will be able to spot mountains and beaches, for example, and group pictures together by date or location. There’s a new Memories feature that can automatically stitch together pictures from a particular event (again something that Google Photos already does).
5. Proactive Maps just look much, much better
Maps is another app getting a major upgrade this time around. The UI has been cleaned up and improved to make it easier on the eye, and Maps can now warn you if there’s traffic up ahead and make suggestions about a faster route that you might want to take instead.
Maps is getting more “proactive” too, Apple says – that means more suggestions will pop up automatically, so you can get recommendations on nearby restaurants, bars, coffee shops or whatever else you’re looking for. These changes are heading to the desktop too.
6. Apple Music becomes heroic
Like Maps, Apple Music is getting a new lick of paint with iOS 10, and it’s going to be simpler to navigate around. The same tabs are in place at the bottom though, so it’s not a radical overhaul, but you can get at music you’ve actually downloaded more easily.
Apple is taking a leaf out of Spotify’s book with a new batch of curated daily playlists that will recommend music that matches your personal tastes, and an embedded lyrics feature has been added to the app too so you can sing along to your favourite tracks as well.
7. New Apple News is serious news
Apple News is the next built-in iOS app to get a refreshed look. The interface looks more newspaper-ish, and when iOS 10 arrives the app will support subscriptions as well. Basically, you’ll be able to get at entire news apps inside one single portal.
Breaking news alerts can be sent directly to the lock screen with Apple News in iOS 10 and it’s going to be easier to browse by topic too. Again, not major upgrades, but News only launched last year, so Apple is taking the opportunity to tweak some of its weaker aspects.
8. HomeKit ain’t going nowhere
Remember HomeKit, Apple’s platform for controlling the smart home? Apple certainly hasn’t forgotten about it, and iOS 10 will bring with it an app called Home for controlling all of your HomeKit devices in one place, which integrates right into Control Centre.
What’s more, Home is going to bring with it support for scenes, so you can bundle together groups of settings to activate when you’re leaving the house or going to sleep or whatever else you get up to at home. It will work well with the Apple TV too, according to Apple.
9. Phone upgrades make calling a pleasure
Number nine in Apple’s list is upgrades to the phone calling experience on iOS 10. The mobile OS update will bring with it voicemail transcriptions, which means you can read through messages that have been left for you if you can’t listen to the recording instead.
Voice-over-IP apps (such as Skype) will be able to make video calls look just like regular phone calls, and the iOS 10 contact cards have been refreshed to make it easier to tap into all the different ways of getting in touch with someone (from email to WhatsApp).
10. Messages get bigger emoji and bubble effects
The most frequently used app on iOS, according to Apple: Messages is getting rich links that can be viewed inside the app itself, a live photo preview feature, bigger emoji and predictions for emoji as you type, as well as a one-tap emoji-to-text replacement feature.
Apple also introduced a new bubble effects feature so you can be ‘loud’ or ‘soft’ with your text, plus handwriting support and an ‘invisible ink’ mode where a swipe is required to reveal some words or an image. A full-screen mode is being added as well.