Apple unveiled the next version of iOS, called iOS 10, at WWDC on Monday. Tim Cook took to the stage to call it “the mother of all releases.”
The mobile operating system adds new features to Messages, Photos and Maps, and makes tons of improvements to Siri. Apple News and Apple Music also get a thorough redesign, and there is plenty of new stuff for developers to play with, too.
iOS 10 won’t be out until the fall, but Apple has released the first preview for developers. Regular users will be able to install a beta later this summer. I got to load up the preview version on one of my test devices and take it for a spin.
I have to say, I’m impressed with how much feels new in iOS 10. Visually, there are a ton of enhancements.
New Notifications and a new lock screen
The first thing you’ll notice about iOS 10 is the redesigned lock screen. Notifications appear larger, and you swipe to the right to access your camera.
Swiping to the left takes you to your Today screen, which shows all of your widgets. They are all accessible on the lock screen — something that can be useful when you’re in a hurry.
But it’s the “Raise to Wake” feature that is really helpful. Simply lift the phone up and the lock screen will become visible. This is similar to what Motorola did with the Moto X a few years back, but it keeps your phone locked and makes it easier to see what’s happening.
Messages gets new tricks
Apple made some substantial changes to Messages, the real star of the WWDC keynote.
First, it’s now possible to send different types of messages. You can send drawings and heartbeats, similar to what you do on the Apple Watch. You can also send information from other apps, including music tracks from Apple Music and sticker packs. There is also a built-in image search for sending reaction GIFs.
Send a drawing or heartbeat
Add stuff from other apps
Emoji are now three times larger and typing in certain phrases like “Happy Birthday” or “Congratulations” will trigger an animation.
New look for Apple Music
Apple Music has received a gigantic overhaul. Its design language is a lot simpler than before, with a big focus on album art.
Notably, the app now opens up on your library, not on the For You section. This will probably please users who want to just access their music and not Apple’s stuff.
I haven’t had a ton of time to use the new Apple Music, but from what I can tell, the core of the service is the same, it just has a fresh new look.
The new Library View
For You gets a new look
The clock app is now black and there is a new Bedtime Mode that will help remind you when you need to go to bed.
Apple Maps has a slightly new look with bigger icons on the bottom of the screen. The turn-by-turn navigation UI is better looking than in the previous version of iOS, too.
Calendar can now suggest events to you based on your Messages and Mail. It also offers up suggestions of when to leave and locations based on where you’ve been in the past.
The Photos app gets an update that lets you edit live photos and relive your best memories by creating automated slideshows and albums.
Control Center is now in color and the Now Playing widget is on its own screen. Just swipe right to access what’s playing.
The Today Screen is no longer located next to Notification Center. Instead, it’s on the page to the left of your first home screen. Apps that have Today screen widgets will show you those widgets when you 3D Touch on an app.
Still has bugs
Even though there is lots of new stuff in iOS 10, I don’t recommend non-developers installing it just yet. Wait for the public beta in July. I’ve run into some bugs in some apps. Nothing show-stopping (yet), but I wouldn’t put this on my daily driver just yet.