iOS 10 top features: Perfect 10?

A lot has gone into the iOS 10 update: Siri is smarter, several key apps have been redesigned and the entire interface is full of more shortcuts. It doesn't have everything we wanted, but very close to the ideal phone and tablet update.

In fact, there's so much to iOS 10 that it's hard to piece everything together and determine which feature updates are significant and which are afterthoughts.

That's why we put together a list of what we think are the best iOS 10 updates.

Rich lock screen notifications

Notifications are broken up into bubbles now and use 3D Touch to show hidden menu actions - just hard press on a calendar invite alert and you'll be able to accept or decline it.

3D Touch-enabled iOS 10 notifications work even better for Messages. You can immediately respond to messages as soon as you pick up your phone, without ever leaving the lock screen. It's all done inline.

Clear all notifications button

What may be the best change to iOS 10 notifications is the ability to clear all of your old notifications with 3D Touch. Just hard press that little "x" icon within the redesigned (and now dedicated) notifications pulldown menu and tap the "clear all" box that pops up. Tap it once to just dismiss the group of notifications.

It's super easy to clear away expired alerts with iOS 10 and it will please everyone inflicted with phone notification-clearing OCD.

Live broadcasting apps

iPhone and iPad gaming is now more social thanks to the new ability to live broadcast apps (or record them for later video viewing) in Replay Kit-supported apps. This is a big deal for not just iOS games, but also coding tutorials and how to guides.

Control Center is decluttered

The swipe-up-from-the-bottom Control Center overlay menu has a brand new look that helps declutters the layout in iOS 10, and it's something Apple users have been asking for.

It once again features four app shortcuts along the bottom (flashlight, stopwatch, calculator and camera app) and moves the fifth Beatle, Night Shift, to a new, bigger spot above the quartet.

Lockscreen camera and 'widgets'

It's easier than ever to flip on the camera with iOS 10 because sliding the lockscreen right (when Control Center isn't open) automatically transitions to the camera app. This is a camera app shortcut we've seen on several Android phones and it beats reaching for the bottom right corner, where the camera shortcut remains in iOS 9. You use the camera app everyday, why not make it easier to access?

Graphical 3D Touch shortcuts

Within the home screen, 3D Touching app tiles like Activity gives you a more graphical account of your fitness goals. You'll know faster than ever that you have to close those daily activity rings.
All of this peeking at apps can be done without leaving the home screen, and it means that 3D Touch is becoming a little more relevant in iOS 10.

Siri third-party apps

Besides WeChat, Siri is ready for other chat apps, like WhatsApp and Slack, and ride hailing services like Uber, Lyft and Didi in China (which Apple invested in recently).

Searching photos through apps like Shutterfly and Pinterest can be done with your voice thanks to Siri, and you can start, pause and stop fitness workouts with MapMyRun, Runtastic and RunKeeper.
Siri can also help you send money to friends with Number26, Square and Alipay, or start a VoIP call to tell your friend why you're not paying them on time via Cisco Spark, Vonage and Skype.

Siri-influenced QuickType keyboard

Apple's on-screen QuickType keyboard can intelligently tell the difference between what you're saying and what computers usually think you're saying (but not) thanks to more advanced Siri intelligence.

It has better context by taking into account the whole sentence, not just spitting out the next guess based on the previous word.
This will be completely opt-in, masked and stored on the device, according to Apple. QuickType is also adding a handy button for your current location whenever someone asks "Where are you?" or requests someone else's contact information. That Contacts app will go further unused.

Photos with advanced computer vision

iOS 10 makes use of deep learning so that it's easier to organise photos with what it calls "advanced computer vision." This is how Apple plans to rival Google Photos.

Apple plans to take Photos to the next level with Memories, which are supposed to remind you of events in life by clustering together photos into trips, people and topics. It seems to have a nice magazine-style interface I can get behind.

iOS 10 will also let you assemble your captured photos and videos of a particular memory with a special movie that's cut automatically. It's customisable, with a number of mood choices and three length options, just in case you don't want to fine tune it yourself.

Apple Maps is way better

You'll be free to pan and zoom around the map with the new Apple Maps update and the navigation software also dynamically zooms in and out of long stretches and complex interchanges.

Also added is traffic on route and expanded Nearby functionality with more points of interest that you can find along your route. Vehicles that supports Apple CarPlay not only get suggested alternate routes based on traffic conditions, Maps' turn-by-turn directions can pop up on the instrument (if they have a screen next to the odometer).
Apple is weaving iOS 10 information from other apps into Maps, like if it knows you go to work at a certain time, it'll make a suggestion for the route, or make one based on a calendar event address.

That's just the start. It's also opening up Maps to third-party developers, so Uber riders can call, follow and pay for their ride without ever leaving Apple's app. It's getting there.

Apple Music

Apple Music with iOS 10 has been redesigned for its 15 million paid subscribers. It looks to be a much cleaner design, highlighting cover art properly and suggesting music that you'll like in a more logical fashion. The Apple Music refresh does add some more depth by way of lyrics (though it doesn't seem to follow along with the words like other apps do, like SoundHound do).

The For You tab does a better job at curating personal playlists and it absorbs the Connect tab that we previously heard was getting a diminished role. Likewise, the 'New' tab has become 'Browse.'

Apple News

News for iOS 10 will also introduce subscriptions so that you can see every issue of National Geographic or read the Wall Street Journal, periodicals usually behind a paywall.

Breaking news notifications have been added to this pre-loaded app so that big stories appear right on the iOS 10 lockscreen.

Phone

Hate listening to voicemails? Never actually check them? Me too. That's why I'm excited that the voicemail transcription idea made it into iOS 10.

It'll let you know what a voicemail message says via more convenient text right within the visual voicemail. Apple is also partnering with Tencent in China to alert iPhone owners there that an incoming call might be spam.

VoIP is no longer going to take a backseat, as a WhatsApp call, for example, can be answered right from the lockscreen, just like a normal incoming call. They'll also be part of your recent and favourites lists.

Messages

Messages is introducing rich links within a conversation and a live camera view as soon as you press the camera button. Like emoji's? You're going to love iOS 10. Apple is making bigger emojis that are now three times as large as before, and the keyboard can now identify words you can easily replace with emojis via a single tap on each word.
Expressions don't stop there. There are bubble effects so you can "say it loud" with a bursting bunch of text, or say something "gently" with slow-to-exist texts.

You can also use "Invisible Ink" that requires the message receiver to slide their finger over a text or photo. It'll either be a nice surprise, or horrific shock to your friends.

2Comments

  1. Guest
    Guest8th Sep 2016

    Brilliant detailed report. Very intetesting.

  2. Guest
    Guest7th Sep 2016

    Thanks Jay Jay for your update. This was a nice article but had not even one photo to show these features. Perhaps we will see them when they are live...

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