The new OS got revealed on stage at WWDC this week, and while it might not land on your phone until the Autumn, developers will be spamming that download button tonight so you’ve got plenty of apps to look forward to.
In the meantime, we’ve got a primer on all things iOS 10. Scroll on down to find out what’s new.
Kick Stocks off your iPhone, finally
All the major iOS apps, including Mail, Weather and Contacts, are now available to download through Apple’s App Store, meaning they can be updated individually by Apple and deleted by you as well. So you no longer need to download a whole new version of iOS simply to see a refreshed Notes and can also give Stocks a long-awaited boot off your 16GB of storage. It’s a win-win situation.
3D Touch has its finger on the button
You can now reply and keep track of a Messages convo, check the status of your Uber and get further detail from your notification without having to unlock your iPhone. Just hard press down on the relevant pronouncement and to get familiar with its contents.
And there are further tweaks to 3D Touch once you’ve logged into your phone with the ability to watch video highlights, or view the number of unread messages you have from your most used contacts. So Apple’s getting the hang of its pressure sensitive tech, and just in time too.
Raise to wake holds it high
If you hate physically pressing buttons, you’re going to love iOS 10’s “raise to wake” feature, which uses your iPhone motion sensors to turn on the screen when you pick it up. You’ll see notifications and messages without having to tap the home button – saving precious energy you’ll need later in the day.
You’ll also be able swipe right from the lock screen to open the camera app straight up, which sounds marginally faster and easier than the current “swipe up from the bottom-right corner” gesture.
Phone doesn’t just dial it in now
If you get a lot of nuisance calls, the dialler now checks if they’re spam with a third party extension before they get to you. Not who you were expecting? Reject and block the number without having to pick up first. Let the call go to voicemail and it’ll transcribe your messages for you too, so you don’t have to scramble for a pen whenever someone rattles off their number.
Contact cards have been overhauled with shortcuts to the ways you most regularly get in touch with your mates – no more scrolling through a list of numbers to find the right number to dial. FaceTime, WhatsApp and work emails are just a tap away.
You’ll even get a full-screen picture whenever they try to call you – even if the phone is locked.
Apple Photos has had a serious brain boost
We’ve been in love with Google Photos since it launched at Google I/O 2015, but now Apple’s own Photos could give it some serious competition.
Like G Photos, Apple’s app will now organise and auto-tag your images by using deep machine learning to recognise faces, places and events.
Click on the Memories tab at the bottom of the photos app and you’ll be able to see collections of related images – for instance all the photos from one particular day out – laid out nicely with added maps and location info alongside them. It’ll even make movies for you, adding music according to a theme of your choice.
So far, so Google Photos then – but unlike its rival, none of these computations will take place in the cloud, with Apple stressing repeatedly that they’ll all be confined to your phone. How bothered you are about that depends on how worried you are about Google accessing all of your images (and, we guess, about, um, what kind of photos you take).
Apple Maps is heading the right direction
iOS Maps has never really recovered from its horrendous beginnings, with Google Maps remaining the go-to app for all things location-based, but Apple seems to be steadily moulding it into an impressive alternative – and one that, like many other once-walled-in parts of iOS, is now open to third-party developers.
The upshot of this is that iOS 10 will make Maps more of a platform than it has been to date. The example Apple’s Eddie Cue showed off on stage? You can browse for a restaurant, make a reservation using OpenTable, book an Uber car to get you there, and pay for the latter using Apple Pay – all without leaving Maps.
Maps is also getting more proactive with its suggestions, using the information it knows about you from other apps to make suggestions. If your calendar says you’re due to be in a location on a particular day, and you open up Maps nearby, it’ll mark that place for you automatically.
The built-in navigation is also getting an update, showing traffic levels on your route, giving you rerouting suggestions if traffic is heavy ahead, and suggesting places you might want to stop for food or petrol. So Apple’s Maps still trails behind Google Maps, but the distance between the two has lessened dramatically.
Texting suggestions are getting smarter
iOS 10’s keyboard is going to be a pretty smart cookie, by the sounds of it – and it’s all thanks to Siri’s big ol’ “deep learning” brain.
Yep, Siri’s intelligence is being integrated into the keyboard, which means QuickType’s autofills and reply suggestions will get more context sensitive. If, for instance, your friend messages you to ask where you are, the keyboard will suggest you reply by supplying your location data.
Quick Typing is less ridiculous
Apple is now using deep learning and AI to make smarter suggestions using Apple’s Quick Type keyboard. If someone texts you asking for a specific email for instance, Siri can look through your contacts and pre-fill the email in a Quick Type suggestion. Additionally, it can keep track of your availability through Calendar and past locations searched online.
Photos gets drunk on AI
Much like Google Photos, Apple is implementing AI and image recognition tech into its photos app so it can quickly organize photos for object recognition search, and also automatically identify trips in your camera roll and create short collections. Once again, a big upgrade but mostly features we’ve had for a year in the form of Google Photos.
iOS 10: It’s all about openness
The thread tying together all these updates is Apple embracing third-party developers like never before on iOS. In some ways, it cedes ideological ground to what a smartphone can be to Google, whose open source approach has tapped into third-party services for years. Of course, Apple punctuated the iOS portion of the keynote with a re-dedication to privacy in the wake of all this new openness.
We’ll see how all that actually plays out when iOS 10 is available this fall, and the public beta will be available next month.