at a surprise. Apple just unveiled iOS 10 at its annual developer conference. The tenth major iteration of the operating system for iPhones and iPads comes with a bunch of new features, some small and some bigger — Apple is releasing a public beta next month. “It is the biggest iOS release ever for our users,” said Craig Federighi. Here’s what’s new.
Apple redesigned the lock screen with iOS 10. With “Raise to Wake” you can see your lock screen without touching your phone. Your phone wakes up. This move was needed as Touch ID had become so fast with the iPhone 6s that you wouldn’t see your notifications on your lock screen.
Now, you can also preview notifications with 3D touch. You deep press on a notification and it loads a tiny window with your message conversation for example. Third-party apps like Uber can take advantage of that as well. You deep press on the Uber notification and you can see where your car is right now.
On your lock screen, you can swipe right to launch the camera, and swipe left to see your widgets, directly on the lock screen. If you swipe from the top or the bottom, you get the notification center and control center as usual.
The notification center is completely redesigned as well and looks more like the notification screen on your Apple Watch. Control center is now made out of two panes. When you swipe right, you can see another control center with your music player only. And it looks like Apple could expand the control center with more panes in the future.
3D Touch shortcuts on the home screen are much more useful now as apps can put live information directly in the 3D Touch popup. Similarly, you can deep press on a widget in the Today View to see this baby version of your apps.
Siri is also receiving a big upgrade with third-party integrations. Federighi showcased WeChat in Siri. You can ask Siri to send a WeChat, and Siri opens the same kind of tiny version of your app to send a message to the right person. There are many other use cases — calling a ride in Uber or Lyft, starting a workout in Runtastic and Runkeeper, paying back your friends in Number26 or Venmo, calling using Skype or Viber.
Siri suggests answers in Messages now too, like your current location or contact information. And it looks like the keyboard is getting more powerful with multilingual support, finally.
iOS 10 uses deep learning locally on the iPhone to do face recognition. It lets you build albums based on your family members and friends. iOS now also detects objects in your photos, like water, a mountain, etc. You can now search for “mountains” and find all your mountain photos.
It looks like the Photos app is getting a huge upgrade and now looks more like Google Photos. The big difference, obviously, is that Apple handles everything on your device and doesn’t collect data about you. Photos build memories from a vacation together with a good-looking cover photo. You can jump from memory to memory. iOS 10 also puts together videos with a soundtrack. You can make these videos shorter, change the mood, etc. macOS will also get these features in the Photos app.
Maps is also receiving a big update with Proactive suggestions. Maps knows when you’re going to work for instance, and can suggest you to enter the itinerary to your work. Talking about turn-by-turn directions, Apple has redesigned this screen to make it more useful. Finally, Apple is opening Apple Maps to third-party developers. For instance, Foursquare could build an extension for Apple Maps. Uber could let you book a ride from Uber — all of this without leaving Maps.
Apple Music has been completely redesigned from the ground up. The Connect tab is gone, but Connect is still available. The Now Playing screen is new. It looks more like Rdio to be honest. It seems much less cluttered. When you open up the Music app, you start with your library tab. If you scroll down, you see new music added to your Apple Music account.
In the Now Playing screen, you can scroll down and see the lyrics. At the top of For You, there’s a Discovery Mix. This is like Discover Weekly on Spotify. Then you see the good-old curated playlists, and then Connect. This For You screen still feels very cluttered. The Radio tab features Beats 1, featured shows with on-demand streaming.
HomeKit is receiving a big upgrade as well. With a new Home app, you can control all your connected devices. And if you want, you can add HomeKit devices right in your control center, so you can control your lights from the control center. The Apple TV can serve as a secured point for remote access for your home. The Home app also works on the iPad, which lets you turn an iPad into a control screen for your home.
Let’s talk about the Phone app. iOS 10 will transcribe your voicemail messages. With Phone app extensions, you can use VoIP apps with the native Phone interface. And when someone calls you on Skype, your phone is going to ring just like a normal phone call. Extensions can also flag spam calls. Once again, Apple is adding extensions to one of the core features in iOS.
Finally, Messages is receiving a huge upgrade, starting with rich previews. If you send a YouTube link, you can play the video directly from the Messages app. If you open the camera, Apple now uses a mixed live camera and photo picker screen to save you a step. Emojis are three times bigger and Messages will suggest emojis based on what you type. You can also tap on words to replace them with emojis — Messages highlights words to replace once you launch the emoji keyboard. Now, everyone can become an emoji wizard!
Apple is also adding bubble effects to add more context to your messages. Handwriting bubbles, popping bubbles, tiny bubbles, etc. And if that’s not enough, you can add feedback to individual messages — like emojis in Slack. And you can send full screen effects, like a firework that fills up the entire screen. This feels like too much. Messages is trying to be Snapchat and Messenger at the same time, adding too many options for text messaging.
But that’s not all for Messages. Apple is also adding Messages apps. Third-party developers can build extensions for Messages, much like extensions for Facebook Messenger. For instance, an app can let you add stickers to photos, order food directly from Messages, etc.
There are many other little features that Apple didn’t mention during the presentation. iOS 10 is now available for developers. The public beta starts next month, and the company is expected to release iOS 10 in September.