Apple held their annual worldwide developers conference today in San Francisco, and made some major announcements regarding all four of their software platforms. Here’s all the new announcements around iOS 10.
The mother of all releases
Dubbed as “the mother of all releases” by Tim Cook, and is the biggest iOS release, ever. iOS 10 includes 10 new major features (as well as a ton of other ones not announced) that focus on helping you do things quicker and connect with people in better ways than before.
Apple has updated iOS 10 with several new ways you’ll interact with your device, with a redesigned Lock screen and Home screen, rich notifications that help give more information, and deeper interactions in apps with expanded 3D Touch capabilities.
Touch ID in iPhone 6s was the second-generation of the fingerprint scanner. It was so good and so fast, users actually complained about unlocking their phone too quickly—preventing them from seeing notifications on their Lock screen. So in iOS 10, you can use the new Raise to Wake feature to see what’s on your Lock screen without ever even touching your phone’s display just by raising your wrist.
And speaking of notifications, they’ve been redesigned, too. The look now more resembles individual bubbles instead of lines of text. And with 3D Touch, you can interact with those notifications in a deeper way right from the Lock screen. For example, you can now respond to an iMessage by pressing on the notification—and even stay in the conversation, and see rich notifications like pictures and video—right on the Lock screen without ever opening your phone.
This also works with third-party apps. Apple showed off an example of how, with an app like Uber, you can use 3D Touch to message your driver, cancel the trip, and even see a live location update complete with animations right in the Lock screen.
But the best feature? A new Clear All Notifications! Because let’s be honest, you don’t look at all your notifications anyway. But, this feature (so far) only seems to work if you have 3D Touch on your phone (sorry iPhone 6 and iPhone SE users).
Control Center has also been redesigned—and now includes the ability to swipe through to different controls for things like Music and HomeKit.
And if you like to quickly launch your camera without unlocking your phone, iOS 10 makes it even easier. From the Lock screen, swipe to the left to open the camera. And if you slide to the right, you can quickly access your notification widgets (assuming you use widgets…if you don’t, you should). And with 3D Touch, you get more information from widgets and apps, too, such as activity rings or even graphical highlights and live action from sports apps like ESPN.
The biggest announcement about Siri is that it’s being open to developers. So it’s going to interact with more of your apps, and do much more than it ever could. You can use Siri for doing things like messaging in apps like Slack, WeChat, and WhatsApp; book rides with Uber and Lyft; search for photos in Shutterfly and Pinterest; control workouts in Runtastic and RunKeeper; or make a call in VoIP apps like Cisco Spark, Skype, or Vonage. You can even send payments to people using apps like Square Cash. And this is just the start. And you’ll be able to use the same natural language you do now. And this same support will come to CarPlay, too.
Siri will have deeper integration with how you quickly respond using your keyboard. Now, you’ll get more intelligent suggestions in context of the conversation. For example: if you get a message asking “Where are you?”, the prediction field of your messages will show a Current Location button you can press to automatically send a picture location with a map. Or, if someone asks you for contact details for a friend, Siri will offer the most relevant contact information with just a tap. And, based on the conversation, Siri can pre-fill a calendar event with the information from the thread. And all of this supports multiple languages.
All this is done using deep learning and LSTMs (long short term memory), similar to what Google uses in Android Marshmallow and their upcoming N release—except all this is done on-device. So your privacy is kept without sharing information.
That similar deep learning is also being integrated into the Photos app. iOS 10 uses Advanced Computer Vision to add facial recognition (similar to what’s been in iPhoto and Photos on Mac for a few years), and object and scene recognition to your photos. So you can quickly and easily search your photos for people, places, objects, or things. For example: if you have photo of you on a horse riding near the lake by the mountainside – Photos now automatically recognizes each of those things, for detailed search results. And, like with QuickType, it’s all done locally on the device.
And Photos now can help easily create Memories—a cluster of related photos and videos based on the people involved, locations, the scenes, and more. It shows memories like Trips, Dates (last weekend, best of the year, etc.), People, and Topics (like
at the beach, at the mountains, etc.). Your iPhone automatically edits together a montage of these photos and videos—even re-edits them based on changes you make like mood, duration, or more, adding different music to match when a change happens. This is very similar to HTC has been doing for a few years with Zoe and not too dissimilar to Facebook’s approach to sharing memories over the last year, as well. But since this is all done on device, it’ll hopefully provide a better, smoother experience.
Apple said these features will be on both iPhone and iPad, and “many of the same features” will be on Mac—although they never specified which ones.
Like other things in iOS 10, Maps is also getting an all-new design. It’s now easy to access controls and details on locations. And it’s getting better around predicting how to make traveling easier. Using Proactive (a feature introduced last year in iOS 9), you’ll get suggestions based on your time, location, or calendar events. So if you usually got to work around 8am, when you open the map around then, you’ll get a suggestion for directions—much like other apps like Waze already does.
The suggestions and redesign also includes traffic on route and navigation. So if there’s heavy traffic on your route, Maps will offer you an alternative route. And if you want to stop along your journey for food or gas, you can search along the route to see where to go and how much longer it’ll take (again, much like other apps already do). All of this applies to CarPlay, too—and can even be viewed in the instrument cluster on your dash.
But it wouldn’t be a developer conference without more developer love—so it was announced that Maps will be opened up to devs. So you can do things like book a table for dinner, book a car reservation, pay for the car, and more all in the Maps app.
Apple Music is also getting a redesign. Apple says the interface is simpler and easier to use. And while it certainly looks better, the way you interact with it hasn’t seemed to change much. There’s still tabs along the bottom, and they’re mostly the same—except Connect is now gone (nearly went the way of Ping!) and Library (My Music) is now the first tab. Lyrics are also now added to Apple Music—so it’s easier for large audiences to not sing along to “Rapper’s Delight” (you had to be there, but I sang along).
News also got a new design, and in a similar way to Apple Music. And it now includes notifications for breaking news on your Lock screen—as well as Subscriptions. So you can read all the articles from major publications right in the app.
Yes. YES. YES!!! HomeKit was announced around two years ago, but has never fully gotten off the ground. But Apple is looking to change that with deeper development around HomeKit with the new Home app.
HomeKit was designed to be a single platform all connected home devices can use to create a seamless experience. However, it still required users to use individual apps for each of their connected home devices. Meaning you may have had to open several different apps when going to bed to do things like: turn off the lights, lock the door, adjust the thermostat, and more.
The new Home app looks to solve that problem by having a singular place to go to control all of your HomeKit-enabled accessories. You can also access Home on your iOS device in Control Center and from your Lock screen in Notifications. And Watch will get Home support in watchOS 3, too. To learn more about the new Home app, check out our blog right here.
The Phone app is finally getting some love after many years, too. In the first update to voicemails since…well, visual voicemail, really…iOS 10 will include voicemail transcriptions (beta). So you can see the message you’ve received without having to listen to it. This is something third-party apps like HulloMail and others have had for a few years, but is a really useful feature.
But that’s not all! What if you see the call, but don’t recognize the phone number? In iOS 10, there’s support for a new extension API for third-parties to provide information that alerts you if the call is possibly spam. No… I don’t need a new credit card!
And the phone app now has a new VoIP API for developers to build integrated experiences with VoIP apps, like Skype, WhatsApp, and more. They can integrate into the Lock screen, your Recents and Favorites list, and when someone calls, their picture appears just like a normal phone call. And your contact card is now enhanced to show those various ways you contact them, and makes them easily accessible with just a tap.
But that’s still not all. With the VoIP API and the Cisco Spark, people can now use their iPhone now receive phone calls from their work number right on their iPhone anywhere.
Over the last few years, Messages has had minor updates to make sending messages and media easier. But this is easily the biggest update to Messages in years—and was the biggest update announcement for iOS 10 at WWDC.
Sending content in the past didn’t always provide the best experience for the receiver. But now with rich links in iOS 10, instead of seeing a web link, users see full images and extracted text from the website—as well as inline video. So there’s no need to leave the app to watch that funny evil cat video (they’re all evil).
And, sending photos and video is richer, too. When tapping the camera icon in Messages, you’ll see what’s actually in front of the camera live without having to leave the Messages app to take a video or picture. And you can even slide over to easily see your other photos and videos in one place—so you can copy them into your message with just a couple of taps. Selfie selection is reaching new levels!
Emoji got a lot of attention, too. Emoji are now three times bigger (which people seemed to really love for some reason) and are included in the Predictive keyboard. But the oddest feature is a new Tap to replace option that highlights all the words in your message that can be replaced with an Emoji—and even suggests ones to replace them with. So you can more easily “emojify” your messages.
Along with all of these features is a set of ways to enhance the impact your messages have with others. With Bubble effects, you can quickly alter the text size—so you can shout or soften your response. With Invisible ink, you can communicate a message a bit more sincerely or share a surprise by slowly revealing the message or picture. With Tapback, you can send a quick affirmation to a message—like a thumbs-up to a question. And there’s even support for handwritten messages right in Messages—with the message revealing itself in the same way you wrote it. Digital Touch—formerly a main feature on Apple Watch—is now included in Messages. And lastly, Message now supports Full-screen effects. So you can enhance your response with a short, full-screen video effect, like fireworks, confetti, and more.
But the biggest feature announcement for Messages was that it’s being opened up for developers to create iMessage Apps. This new feature includes an App drawer that houses all the apps that you can use to enhance your message in new ways, like stickers, GIFs, animated effects, and more. And there’s even an App Store for iMessage you can access right from Messages app so you can find other apps to further enhance the functionality in your iMessage. One that stood out was the ability to pay someone directly through Messages using apps like Square Cash. It’s not a direct P2P solution, but it’s darn close, and a really welcomed feature. Or, the ability for a group to all add their food from their phone to a group order through an app like DoorDash.
So that’s the major announced releases for iOS 10. But, it’s complete (ish) because there’s many more features that weren’t announced, but will be coming to iOS 10, as well. Features like Split-Screen for Safari on iPad, editing for Live Photos, Read receipts by conversation in Messages, Continuity clipboard, live Notes collaboration, avoiding tolls in Maps, and much more. Head to 9to5Mac to see a more comprehensive list of those, and other, features.
iOS 10 will be available for public beta in July which you can sign up for here, and will launch in the fall of 2016.
And for all the coverage from WWDC 2016, check out our other posts on watchOS 3, macOS, and tvOS.