The pixels have settled after another WWDC keynote, meaning we now know exactly what’s coming to iOS 10. Siri’s the big star, but there are plenty of other features to look forward to. Here’s all the tricks your iPhone will learn this this fall.
As expected, Apple has created a Siri SDK, which means that developers will now be able to incorporate it into their apps at will. That specific news isn’t nearly as important as what it will enable.
While some third-party apps, like Yelp and OpenTable, already play nice with Siri, it’s a very short list. This makes Siri less useful than it could be—just compare it to Amazon Alexa’s thousand-plus integrations—but more importantly, it makes the iPhone less useful than it should be. But finally, after five years of a mostly solitary existence, Siri’s going to make some friends.
A few of those were on stage at WWDC today. WeChat, Slack, and WhatsApp all made an appearance, meaning you’ll now be able to talk to those apps and have them follow your command. What’s available now though, isn’t nearly as important as what’s going to be by the time iOS 10 is available this fall and beyond.
iMessage, the Platform
While the rumored iMessage for Android didn’t materialize, Apple’s chat app did pick up a suite of sweet new features. There’s a lot going on here, most of which catches the app up to its messaging rivals.
iMessage will have rich links inline, meaning you can play videos from YouTube or songs from Music without bailing out to another app. Its emoji are three times bigger than before, and it will prompt you to emojify any words (pizza, taco, love… eggplant?) as you type.
You can add effects to the text in your bubbles, making it larger if you want to shout and smaller if you’re feeling meek. You can write messages in “invisible ink,” that the recipient can only read after swiping, or you can blur them until they tap. This would be good for lots of uses and NOT just sex stuff.
And then, again, those third-party integrations show up. iMessage now has an app drawer, meaning you can send money with Square, order food with DoorDash, and so on. Turning iMessage into a platform is a move Apple needed to make, especially with Facebook Messenger having already done most of this a year ago.
Apple Music Makeover
What Apple Music lacks in usability it makes up for in exclusives. In iOS 10, though, Apple’s late-arriving Spotify competitor is going to fix much of what ails it. The key word is simplicity: Everything’s much more clean and navigable, including a new tab for “downloaded music” (thank goodness) and a For You section that provides a new playlist of music Apple thinks you’ll like every single day. Think Spotify Discover, but more frequently updated.
Apple Connect, which was a thing that you forgot existed, has been a little bit tucked away, because again, you forgot it existed.
More Responsive Notifications
You know that thing where Touch ID works so quickly that you blow right past your lock screen? Apple added a feature that shows you what’s on your display when you pick it up. From there, you can get more info or respond to them from the lock screen using 3D Touch. Apps with information that evolves in real-time (think Uber letting you know where a car is, or ESPN showing you a score) can have notifications update live. It also looks cleaner than before, which is going to be a theme here.
Other than the 3D Touch feature/gimmick, smartphones like the Moto X have been doing this for years. Which is why I can confidently tell you that you’ll love it.
To get a sense of what Apple’s updated Photos app can do, just open Google Photos. Face recognition, object recognition, clustering and sorting by person, date, and place. All of this mirrors what Google Photos has done since last year, with the crucial difference that Apple’s machine learning smarts all take place locally, on your device.
That’s great if Google gives you privacy concerns, but it’ll be interesting to see if Apple’s version local can match the chops of what Google’s cloud. Another notable difference: Google stores your photos in the cloud for free, while you’ll have to pay up for iCloud when you run out of room.
Prettier, More Open Maps
Maps got a design tweak (hello, pan and zoom mid-navigation) but more importantly it’s now open to third party developers. In the keynote example, you can use OpenTable to make a restaurant reservation, call it up on Maps, and summon an Uber to take you there.
Another small update that you’ll appreciate: Gas station listings. Sure!
Siri Helps You Type
Siri’s going to give Apple’s QuickType keyboard a boost, bringing contextual awareness (your location, your calendar, and more) into play to provide suggested replies. If someone asks where you are, for instance, Siri can tell them for you.
Apple News Rethink
I really enjoy Apple News, but am also aware that in its current iteration it’s just a chopped salad of stories, jumbled up in no real relation to one another. That changes in iOS 10. Now, News sorts the news into sections that make sense, and also includes support for subscriptions. Which, after Newsstand effectively shut down, is a major improvement for readers and publications alike.
HomeKit: Still HomeKitting
HomeKit still exists! Although there’s not a ton new to say about it, aside from there’s an actual app now, called Home, from which you can control all of your smart home devices that have compatible apps. Home automation nerds, this one’s for you, although I fear you are a small subset. Then again, I’m the guy who uses Apple News, so no judgment here!
There are a lot of cool features coming to the Phone app (remember, you can still make phone calls with your iPhone), but the only one I’m really looking forward to is voicemail transcription. If it’s even half as bad as Google’s, it should provide endless entertainment.
Otherwise! There’s a new VoIP API that lets incoming calls from WhatsApp, FaceTime, or wherever look more like normal phone call. It’ll also automatically check calls for which seem like spam, and let you know.
Hide the Junk
This didn’t make the stage at Monday’s WWDC keynote, but good news for everyone with an “Apple Junk” folder wasting space on their home screen: In iOS 10, you can delete Tips, Calculator, Music, and more than a dozen other preloaded Apple apps.