Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is today, and that means the company is rolling out a ton of new software and new ideas. Most prominent among these is iOS 10, the latest iteration of the software that runs the iPhone and iPads and other devices. With this release, Apple has grand ambitions — from the tiny little apps to the complicated stuff under the hood.
Siri Is All Over Everything Everywhere
The biggest change is that Apple wants you to love Siri, and they will make it happen whether you want it to or not. Siri is turning up in all of Apple’s products, from the Apple TV to the Mac itself, and it’s even more tightly integrated into iOS. For example, if you’re texting about meeting up at a restaurant with some friends, Siri can scan your text messages and automatically book a table at a restaurant for you. If you get asked about somebody’s email address, Siri will find it in your contacts and autofill it in for you. Siri has also been opened up to developers and now ties into quite a few third party apps, including Uber, Skype, and anybody else who wants to add a feature.
Whether this will make people more inclined to use the chirpy little thing is anybody’s guess. So far, people have found Siri more annoying than useful. But expect Apple to push hard on this one.
Messages Is Slowly Being Turned Into Snapchat
Messages is the next major feature getting a bunch of new bells and whistles stuffed into it. Aside from Siri reading your mail, you’ll also get a whole host of tweaks — the most useful of which is rich links, so you can see previews before you click. In terms of cosmetic stuff to make texting more like using Snapchat, you can now send a message “gently” or “loudly,” which boils down to a text arriving in small print that expands to normal, or bold text that shrinks to normal. This feature seems like it’ll mostly be used in those scenes in movies where they CGI the text message over an actress staring pensively at her phone. You can also layer grit over your message that the other person has to “wipe away,” which seems like passive-aggressive way to communicate…but you do you.
Similarly, there’s a tool that spots words you can replace with emojis and will automatically stick those in. Like emoji auto-correct. If, for example, you tell somebody you’re watching football, you can replace “football” with a football emoji so that your whole life is one big pictogram. Emojis are also now enormous, for some reason, you can handwrite texts, and third-party developers can now create apps that can interact with your texts.
In other words, you’ll have even more tools to make your Android-using friends annoyed with you.
Photos Gets A Major Overhaul
The third major focus is photography. Photos is getting plenty of new tools, including organizational tools that arrange your photos by location data, so every shot you take in a restaurant will be grouped together, and it’s paired with new software tools for face recognition, place recognition, and objects. It’ll use all this data to create albums for you automatically, as well. If this sounds like Google’s photo app… well, that’s more or less what it is. Hey, better late than never.
The Lock Screen Will Be Far Different
First off, expect a more crowded lockscreen. It’s been designed to make it easier to access gadgets like the camera or the various widgets you might install, as well as look at your notifications and pop up the Control Center. You can also get live status updates from open apps, so if you’re calling an Uber, you don’t need to have your phone open until it arrives. It’s also added a “shake to wake” feature which will allow you to pop up the lockscreen by rattling your phone a bit, to see if that text was anything you should bother replying to.
The Phone Is Better
Amid all this, you might have forgotten that this is also a phone! Apple has added spam detection, so you can confirm that call from an area code you’ve never been to is spam when it rings. It will also transcribe voicemails.
All of this stuff, even Apple Music and their new Home app, is more or less playing catchup. But Apple has a huge userbase, of course, so playing catchup might be enough. We’ll know for sure when iOS 10 debuts later this year.