The public beta of iOS 10 was released to the masses today, bringing an iMessage app store, Siri integration, and a variety of other new features.
The beta is available through Apple’s beta portal, but is likely to contain quite a few bugs. For those not interested in tampering with their iPhones, here’s a preview of 10 of the biggest changes in iOS 10.
1. Raise to wake
Picking up the iPhone now causes its screen to light up and turn on with iOS 10. However, it’s important to note that at launch this feature will only work with iOS devices that feature the tech giant’s M9 motion processor, though this could change in the future.
2. iMessage revamp
Analysts have been saying messaging platforms are the new mobile battle field, and it looks like Apple is buying into this prediction as well as well. As part of Apple’s new messaging strategy, the company is launching a dedicated iMessage app store which includes sticker packs and third-party apps like OpenTable. Users are also now able to send hand written drawings to one another, snap photos and send stickers through messages.
3. Deeper Siri integration with apps
Users will now be able to communicate with many third-party apps directly through Siri. With apps like Lyft (which isn’t available in Canada) and Uber, users are able to ask for rides with simple voice commands, expanding Siri’s voice functionality significantly.
4. Home is where the smart products are
HomeKit is complicated, but with the release of a dedicated “Home” app, it’s now easy to manage a variety of smart home gadgets — that support HomeKit — from one specific location. Home could also be a precursor to Apple’s eventual launch of a dedicated always-listening voice-activated assistant.
5. No more slide to unlock
In iOS 10 Apple is finally doing away with its iconic ‘slide to unlock’ feature. Now, instead of sliding your finger across the screen, users now ‘press to unlock,’ touching the iPhone’s home button to unlock the smartphone. This shift has seen a bit of early backlash but it actually does make unlocking your the iPhone a little easier.
6. “Today View” changes
First introduced in iOS 7, ‘Today View’ has gone through a serious redesign in iOS 10. All previous ‘Today View’ mainstays, like ‘Weather’ and ‘Calendar,’ are now widgets that can be easily rearranged. It’s less busy and more useful than ever before, but if you have concerns about strangers glancing at your data there’s always the option of disabling lock screen features in settings.
7. Side-slide into the camera
Now, instead of touching the camera icon on the lock screen and sliding up, iPhone users can just slide from right to left to get into camera mode. This makes a fast entry into the camera much easier and more intuitive.
8. Revamped user interface design
Of course, with a new version of iOS comes a new look. This year it’s only subtly changed, rounding corners wherever it can and moving towards a lighter and more colourful design. In several areas Apple is attempting to simplify the user experience and pack features in less densely. For instance, it’s separated the Control Center app into several panes that can be flipped through, rather than including all the information in one menu.
9. Redesigned Apple Music
Apple’s music streaming platform has a brand new look. It’s now more monochromatic and simplistic in appearance, with the occasional pop of bright colour. The tabs located at the bottom of the screen for navigation no longer contain social offering ‘Connect’ or ‘New,’ while ‘Browse’ and ‘Search’ options have been added. The app has also added lyrics and a recently played section.
10. Mail time saver
In a handy time-saving addition to the mail app, iOS users can now access a button with three lines in it at the bottom-left hand corner of the Mail app that quickly filters mail. With one tap it shuffles your mailbox so all unread content is at the top, or you can change it to quickly filter to flagged mail, mail sent directly to you, mail CC’d to you, mail with attachments or mail sent from your selected VIP list of contacts.
Patrick O’Rourke and Rose Behar contributed to this story.