Released today, Apple’s new iOS 10 is an across-the-board refinement of communication apps, smart media tools and cross-platform features, and the addition of some new functions that likely won’t apply to all users.
At a glance, you’ll instantly notice improvements to iMessage, Mail, Notifications, the camera and Photos, and the Music app.
What will be less obvious is the addition of Home – an app to unite all your Internet of Things devices under one banner – and Health, which captures and aggregates data from iPhone and Apple Watch, or third-party health and fitness apps. These latter apps provide a solid function, but will likely be banished from the home screen by many.
Raise to Wake is literally the first feature you will see. Your iPhone screen will now light up when the smartphone is picked up, which means no more skipping past notifications after you press the Home button and Touch ID unlocks your phone. Win.
Apple Pay, currently available for Amex and ANZ customers in Australia, is now integrated more deeply within iOS, giving users the option to make online purchases directly through the Safari browser. It’s a great forward feature that will move us closer to a plastic-less future.
Another new addition to the Clock app is Bedtime, which reminds you to go to bed and wakes you up with an alarm each… sorry, but if you need an app to tell you when to go to bed and what time to rise, you aren’t adulting hard enough.
As for the rest of iOS 10, you’ll find a swathe of useful improvements that range from entertaining and informative, to helpful and productive.
iMessage has been given a shot in the arm and now includes all manner of expressive features. If you can think it, you can likely do it.
You can now send a variety of messages and responses, static or animated, like: a sketch or handwritten note; quick Tapback response; animated message buddles; invisible ink (!); stickers and auto emojis. At first glance, it feels little gimmicky, but like many innovations of everyday tasks, you soon won’t know what you did without the rich messaging options of iOS 10.
Check out our comprehensive appraisal of this feature here.
Music you will use
Let’s face it, the Music app – and iTunes in macOS, come to mention it – has been a surprising mess for some time. For years we’ve struggled with an unfriendly user interface, so it’s nice to see the new iOS 10 Music app is finally a step in the right direction.
Layout and design is a little more intuitive, with album artwork and artist lists flowing smoothly, although no fast scroller is to be seen anywhere. Unfortunately, if you’re not an Apple Music user, you’re hit with banner ads to sign up to the service, which is underwhelming.
Photos and much more
Photos has become more than a mere photo roll, with the addition of Memories. Think of it like a photo album that automatically scans photos for people, places, objects and landmarks, as well as dates; and creates albums to view and share.
It’s an interesting feature. While the world wasn’t exactly crying out for it, Apple has come up with something that may be quite the conversation starter or tool for a little reminiscing after you return home from holiday. Win.
Notifications on steroids
The new notifications experience of iOS 10 is a vast improvement, in both function and design. If you’re switching from an Android device to a new iPhone, the new swipe and ‘bubble’ options will feel strangely familiar. For current iOS users, the improvements are obvious and many.
The first refinement is extensive reply options available for notifications that appear on the lock screen, such as replies for email or text, accept or decline for calendar invites, and so on.
Swiping down for the Notification Centre displays notifications from apps, as per usual, and now yields a further option to swipe right to the new widget page, where you can arrange widgets from various apps that give snapshot functions. This is also accessible from the Home screen (unlocked) with a swipe to the right.
For example: a weather widget that tells you the temperature and a brief forecast; a Dropbox widget that offers direct links to your most recent files; a calendar widget that shows your appointments for the day; and even a Kindle widget that fires up your latest read. The sheer usefulness and simplicity of this function makes you wonder why it’s taken Apple so long to implement it.
Overall, iOS 10 brings Apple devices closer together, unifying the experience across the board and providing functions that are well overdue. With services that bring your desktop or laptop experience closer to your chosen mobile device, the technological ‘clunk’ you may have felt in the past when switching from one to the other will feel less so now.
There’s no doubt this is to prepare Apple users for the day when there are no separate devices with separate operating systems – no desktop at home, no smartphone in your pocket or tablet PC on your coffee table – simply a central home network that feeds data and content to various types of screens as required by the user. Of course, that day is still a while off.
Until then, the iOS experience will continue at this pace, with small innovations accumulating into a larger experience.
Ensure your iOS device is backed up to iTunes or iCloud before attempting to upgrade to iOS 10. The New Daily accepts no responsibility for the loss of data or functions as a result of actions based on this information.