Apple announced its next smartphone operating system (OS), the iOS 10, at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday. CEO Tim Cook hailed the new OS as the "mother of all releases."
The firm announced that the preview is currently available to Developer Program members and that a public beta will be released in July. The developer preview can be accessed through developer.apple.com while the public beta can be downloaded at beta.apple.com.
Much like every other iOS launch, iOS 10 will also be made available to the public along with the iPhone 7. Apple has historically reserved the month of September for an iPhone launch, which means that the new OS will probably be arriving then.
iOS 10 heralds the era of some big changes for Apple and its policies. Here are seven new features that the updated mobile OS is receiving:
The biggest update to the OS — and Siri as well — is the decision to make Siri available to third-party developers. The move will allow Siri to work with apps like Uber to order cabs or productivity apps like Evernote to make changes to one's daily task lists. The virtual assistant will be able to search for photos through third-party apps, interact on WhatsApp and even send payments.
Apple has updated the stock iOS keyboard to make typing easier and the update improves the keyboard's intelligence. According to Apple, the new keyboard allows Siri to take a peek at your messages and mails, and then suggest possible replies. The keyboard also supports multi-lingual input that is paired with predictive text.
Phone app for all
The biggest update for the phone app is third-party access. With the iOS 10 update, iPhone, iPod and iPad users will be able to make calls over VoIP (voice over internet protocol) services like Skype and Viber through the main dialer itself, without having to open the individual apps. This feature extends to the contacts as well, allowing users to choose which app they'd like to use to communicate. Finally, voice mails can either be played back or be viewed as an audio transcript.
Google, er... Apple Photos
The Photos app has received some major updates too, but unlike the ones discussed above, the updates aren't exactly novel. With iOS 10, the photos app gets geo-tagging, facial recognition, object recognition, grouping and sorting by date, time and location. There is one crucial difference though: unlike Google Photos, Apple's take on the app has all the machine learning taking place in the phone itself as opposed to on Google's servers.
iMessage? More like "spy message"
The coolest addition to the Messages app has to be the addition of effects to the messages. While the message bubble itself will remain normal, users can add effects to the text contained within. Some effects ensure that texts received remain hidden until the reader swipes across them, while others require that users scratch the text with their nail to reveal the contained message. Other new features include bigger emoji, the ability to replace words with emoji from the predictive text box and GIF support.
Apple is reportedly making Messages more like a platform releasing the software development kit (SDK) to third-party developers.
Apple maps now features Map layers that will show to the users only the information that's relevant to them. For example, bus stops, metro lines and street traffic can be seen to decide while travelling within the city. Maps will also be more proactive and will offer to show the user routes to work or school, having learned from users' habits and routines. Maps will also be open to third-party developers and one can expect to hail cabs and reserve tables through the app.
With the iOS 10 update users can use the "Rise to Wake" function to automatically wake the screen as the phone is raised. Notifications on the locked screen allow additional levels of interactivity. The content displayed on the locked screen also provides users more information. iPhone 6s and 6s Plus users also get enhanced 3D touch interactivity, especially for apps like Weather, Stocks and Calendar.