iOS 10 release date rumours: New features
iOS 10 was unveiled at WWDC 2016 on 13 June. Apple focused on 10 new, redesigned or tweaked areas:
1. General redesign and user experience
Apple says it’s “redesigned the experience of the lock screen”. But before we get to that, there’s a new feature that will mean you’ll see more of the lock screen.
At the moment, particularly with the faster second-gen Touch ID fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, there’s a tendency to hit the Home button and blast straight to the Home screen, But Apple has unveiled ‘raise to wake’, which will make the iPhone light up, and go to the Home screen, when you just lift it up. One of several features where we’ll see the influence of the Apple Watch on the iOS ecosystem, incidentally.
Onscreen notifications have become more interactive. There are now lots of 3D Touch shortcuts to respond to them in clever ways without leaving the lock screen, and plenty of dynamic features that can happen in the notification itself.
You can accept invitations, respond to messages, and stay in a messages thread, live, all on the lock screen. You can see live animated progress of your Uber driver after 3D Touching an Uber notification. And – exactly like on the Apple Watch – you can do 3D Touch press and then clear all notifications. That’s a handy one, that.
Control Centre has been redesigned. We didn’t see much of it in detail, but it looks like it’s either customisable or varies in look depending on the context. At any rate it has multiple screens, so if you swipe from the right you get to a special music section. More generally, you can swipe from the right in the lock screen to bring up the camera. That’ll be less fiddly than the small icon you had to swipe upwards in iOS 9. You can also swipe from the left to get a list of customisable widgets.
‘Slide to Unlock’ has been removed, and instead you’ll see ‘Press home to open’. Doing so will prompt you to enter your passcode or will unlock the phone if you use Touch ID.
The biggest change to Siri (other than the fact that it’s launching on Mac!seems to be that Apple is opening it up to 3rd-party developers. This means that you’ll be able to activate non-Apple apps and functions via voice control.
As an example, Craig Federighi explained that you can now ask Siri things like “Send a WeChat to X” (or, using natural language, “WeChat Nancy that I’ll be five minutes late” and so on). There will be Siri support in Slack, WhatsApp, Uber, Lyft, Shutterfly, Pinterest, Map My Run, RunKeeper and lots more apps.
Apple is “bringing Siri intelligence to the keyboard”. Which mainly manifests itself in the use of artificial intelligence and context cues to offer more suitable and relevant suggestions when typing. QuickType is pretty handy and a genuine time-saver at the moment, but remains unsophisticated. If it’s half as good in iOS 9 as the demos suggested, it’s about to get a lot better at predicting what you want to say.
What’s more, QuickType is going to become more proactive at bringing in data from other apps and offering it as part of your responses. If someone asks where you are, it will offer your location as a suggested response; if someone asks for a person’s email address and iOS thinks it knows who that is, it will suggest the relevant contact details.
There will be support for multilingual typing – in other words, not in just one language or another, but in a blend of the two. You won’t have to switch keyboards to do this, Apple said, although they didn’t offer details. Will you have to tell iOS that you want it to make suggestions in English and Spanish, say, but not French or Italian? Or will it learn your preferences on the fly? We really hope it’s the latter.
Like QuickType, Photos has been given an injection of artifical intelligence. Apple says it will use deep learning techniques to analyse faces, places and objects – the company boasted, if we didn’t mishear, that 11 billion computations are made per photo – and use its findings to build smart albums for you.
Photos can draw together linked photos and videos by place, people and time, and automatically create highlight reels and trip mementoes; Apple calls this ‘Memories’. It demonstrated a good-looking photo/video album created from a holiday, where individual videos had been cut to include the most relevant bits of footage. Federighi was then able to adjust some sliders and see it remade with a different mood and length. All very impressive on stage, but we’ll obviously need to test this for ourselves.
Maps gets a new design in iOS 10; like some of the other apps that have been revamped for this update, it looked broadly simpler and cleaner. Apple says the controls are easier to access.
Maps now does more in advance, with the proactive elements we’ve seen before in iOS coming to the fore. Slide upwards from the bottom of Maps and you get suggested destinations. If you normally go to work at this time, then your workplace will be on there. Another location may be drawn from a calendar appointment for this time.
You can sub-filter when searching for nearby businesses. Fitter for restaurants; then filter for seafood restaurants.
Like Google Maps, Apple Maps in iOS 10 takes traffic into account dynamically, and offers alternative routes on the fly if traffic makes them preferable. Unlike Google Maps (we think), its interface will zoom in and out cleverly, depending on the distance to the next turning and other factors.
And, like many of the other features here, Apple is opening Maps up to developers. (Openness is a theme tonight.) This means you’ll be able to book a ride with Uber and pay for the ride using Apple Pay, all without leaving Maps.
As we expected, Apple Music has had a major visual redesign – and to be fair, it looks good. It also gets onscreen lyrics for some songs, although you may have to wait for the lyrics for your favourite song to be added.
Quick one, this: Apple News has been redesigned – like the other apps here, it becomes cleaner and simpler. But more interestingly, Apple has added subscriptions in News. (More and more this is becoming the app that Apple wanted Newsstand to be.)
Oh, and there will be ‘Breaking news’ notifications from News.
8. HomeKit & new Home app
And now a bigger one. Apple is getting serious about smart homes and the internet of things, launching a dedicated app, Home, for controlling all the appliances that are compatible with HomeKit.
If you open up Home, you’ll see all your HomeKit-compatible accessories, no matter which company makes them, and you can easily control them all from one hub. Many of these will have 3D Touch shortcuts: you can force-tap and slide on a dimmer app, for instance, to adjust light levels.
There are some really nice features in Home. One is called Scenes, which is effectively a pre-customised set of adjustments across a range of accessories that you can activate with a single tap or Siri command.
In the demonstration, the user is getting ready for bed and taps a button in Home labelled ‘Goodnight’. This invokes an entire raft of smart-home instructions: it locks the door, adjusts the thermostat, draws the curtains and so on. Similarly, there could be a ‘Good morning Siri’ command that gets your home ready for the day.
Home will be built into iOS’s Control Centre, and Home notifications will be interactive – Apple demonstrated a door notification that can be 3D Touched, bringing up a live feed of the door camera and the ability to unlock the door.
The all-important but often neglected Phone app gets a single big enhancement: voicemail transcription. iOS will convert speech into text so you can glance through a voicemail without having to listen to it. Will be great if it’s accurate enough (and remember that it doesn’t need to be that accurate, since you’re just trying to get the gist; if it’s clearly important, you can just listen to the message).
One other update: Apple has pledged to work with third parties to provide more information about known voicemail spammers, so you can be warned when one is ringing.
And to finish up, a huge (if often slightly silly) update for what Apple pointed out is the most frequently used app in iOS. There are lots of small updates here, many of them clearly aimed at a young audience.
You’ll be able to use rich links in Messages. Share a link and, as it would in Slack or Twitter, artwork and a precis of the article may be pulled in, so your friends can get an idea of the gist without having to click.
Emoji will be three times the size, and emoji will be incorporated into predictive text: bad news for those who are sick of all the emoji in messages they get from iPhone-owning mates. In fact it goes even further: Messages can scan a message you’re about to send and highlight all the words that could be replaced with emoji. Tap them one by one and they’ll transform into the appropriate pictures.
You’ll be able to add various bubble effects to your messages, too.
You can make a message (including pictures, if you wish) come up in ‘invisible ink’, which means it’s blurred out until the recipient swipes across it with a finger. This is designed for situations when you want to surprise someone with a nice message and want to delay the moment of gratification for a little longer. We’d hope that iPhone owners won’t use this for dumping their other halves.
Other effects include ‘Slam’, which makes the speech bubble briefly bulge outwards dramatically, and others that make the text initially smaller than normal.
Wait, there’s more. You can send handwritten messages; you can use Digital Touch and send your heartbeat (another nod to watchOS). You can use full-screen visual effects on your messages, so that the entire screen lights up with a garish laser show if that’s what you want. It’s all a bit much for us oldies but, to quote Marty McFly, your kids are going to love it.
Bonus features: Delete preinstalled apps
Apple didn’t mention this in the keynote presentation for obvious reasons – it doesn’t want to highlight the fact that users have been crying out for the ability to delete its apps. But they have been crying out for that, and it’s a huge relief that in iOS 10, you’ll be able to delete many of Apple’s preinstalled apps from your iPhone or iPad, and get back the storage space they were taking up. (Although Apple stresses that they don’t take up much space anyway: “all of them together use less than 150MB”.)
It’s worth pointing out that the apps aren’t really “deleted” in the strict sense; all that happens is the app icon is hidden, links to functions like Siri are temporarily severed, and user data associated with the app is deleted. But the app itself remains on your system, albeit hidden from your view.
Amusingly, if you want to bring back the app after deleting it, iOS forces you to go through the charade of visiting the App Store, finding the app and ‘redownloading it’ – but really this could have been accomplished by just flicking a toggle switching in Settings. Apple does it this way in order to keep the user experience consistent.
We explain how to delete (or perhaps we should say, as Apple does, “remove”) preinstalled apps in iOS 10 – and some workarounds that let you do roughly the same thing in iOS 9 and earlier – in a separate article: How to delete Stocks, Maps and other preinstalled apps on iPhone or iPad.
Bonus features: Apple Maps in iOS 10 remembers where you parked your car
If you happen to have a car with CarPlay you’ll be pleased to know that iOS 10 now remembers where you’ve left your car. First discovered by 9to5Mac, Apple Maps now knows when you disconnect your iOS device with your phone from the car’s Bluetooth.
The phone will remember where you last parked the car and give you directions back to it, so if you are often forgetful the new added feature is a nice addition. You can also edit the location of the parked car with an updated location and even add more context to the dropped pin, by adding the level/parking lot number.
Bonus features: RAW images in iOS 10
If you’ve got a iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, or a 9.7-inch iPad Pro you’ll be pleased to know that you’ll have the option to take RAW images, meaning captured images will offer a lot more level of detail for those wanting to professionally edit the photos. This does however mean that the RAW images will be naturally bigger in file size.
The RAW images functionality will only be available through the rear-facing camera and you won’t be able to use image stabilisation.
Bonus features: Other new features
You’ll now be able to enable or disable the read receipts that were introduced back in iOS 7. Currently you can only universally change it, but now you’ll be able to change it per contact or group.
There are very slight changes to the app and folder animations, which make the folders in your app drawer zoom-in from the centre of the screen, rather than the folder’s location on your screen.
Live Photos will now feature image stabilisation, which will hopefully help the images being a little clearer.
The default Clock app now has a Wake Alarm and Bedtime feature, which allows you to remind you when to go to sleep, in order for you to get your desired hours of sleep.
As with the Mac storage optimisation option, iOS 10 also has the feature, which automatically removes files from your device that haven’t been used in a long time. In this respect iOS 10 will offer to remove songs from your device.
The iOS Game Center is no longer, with it being completely removed from the default stock apps – this comes from less than 1% of people actually using it.
The Safari app has also received some love, with the mobile browser now having the ability to open unlimited tabs, whereas in iOS 9 you could only open 36 tabs.
Finally, the stock iOS keyboard has a very slight different sound.
iOS 10 release date rumours: Which iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices can run iOS 10?
iOS 10 will be released as a free upgrade for the following devices:
- iPad 4 and later (ie, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro (9.7in and 12.9in)
- iPad mini 2 and later (iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4)
- iPod touch 6th generation
- iPhone 5 and later (iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE)
iOS 10 release date rumours: When will Apple announce iOS 10, and WWDC 2016 dates
The first developer preview beta version of iOS is available right now, but you’ll need a developer account to get it. If you’re keen, read more here: How to get iOS 10 on your iPhone/iPad now. (If you change your mind afterwards, see How to remove iOS 10 and reinstall iOS 9.)
iOS 10 will enter a public beta testing programme in July, and this will be available to all – not just developers. But bear in mind that it still won’t be officially finished, and there are likely to be bugs and compatibility issues with some apps. The final, official public launch will happen in the autumn of 2016. It will be a free update.
Typically, Apple announces its new iteration of iOS every June at its WWDC event in the US, with the final release date scheduled to coincide with the launch of new iPhones in the following September: this year, we’d expect iOS 10 to be made available for consumers at some point in September 2016, days before the (as yet unannounced) iPhone 7 is released.
This three/four-month gap between the announcement and its release gives developers a chance to squash any bugs and add any new features to their third-party iOS apps, in time for general release.