Apple introduced iOS 10 this week during WWDC. While Apple suggested most people wait for the public beta when it is available in July, we decided to ignore that entirely and downloaded the developer preview. As you might expect, iOS 10 is currently full of glitches and lagginess, and some features just straight up don’t work.
Yet we still threw together a preview of what you can expect to arrive on an iPhone near you with the most powerful form of online communication—Gifs.
Raise to wake: Something simple but so crucial that’s been missing from iOS for years. As Apple’s senior VP of software Craig Federighi mentioned on stage, most people blow past the lock screen ever since Apple introduced Touch ID login. Now, iOS 10 takes notice of the sensors embedded inside the iPhone and blinks on whenever you raise the display. Life changing? Nah, but I’m loving it so far.
Interactive notifications: One of the biggest visual changes in iOS 10 is notifications. On previous versions of iOS, all you could really do is dismiss notifications or launch directly into the app. Now, you can respond directly (depending on your security settings) or get more information thanks to 3D touch. Press, hold, and bam—more info (phones without 3D touch will also receive this feature). The notifications themselves also look different, more like a frosted-glass bubble than simple Helvetica text.
Swipe-able shortcuts: Apple has also introduced swipe shortcuts on the lockscreen, so swiping left launches the camera, right brings up widgets, and swiping up displays Control Center. Once in Control Center, you can swipe left for a redesigned music controller, which works with any music player not just Apple Music.
No more swipe to unlock: “Swipe to Unlock” has been the iPhone’s digital welcome mat for years. Now, Apple’s ditching it because of its new swipe-centric shortcuts. To log into the phone, you now press the home button (activating Touch ID) and then you’re ready to go. Obviously, if you press the home button with an unregistered fingerprint, you’re then prompted with a passcode. If you’re on an iPhone 5 or 5c, you’ll have to punch in a code like normal.
Bottom line: iOS 10 is finally making your lockscreen useful.
Apple Music: The app launched last WWDC with lots of fanfare. Unfortunately, its design was too chaotic to be useful. Now, Apple’s brought order to that chaos with a smarter use of color, a simpler design, and new features—like lyrics and previously downloaded music—to make the app genuinely more useful.
News: When Apple kicked Newsstand to the curb, there was much rejoicing, but it was also clear it’s replacement needed a lot of work. With iOS 10, Apple has made News an app that just might convince you to replace Flipboard. Section headers are more clearly defined, Apple optimized the app to work much better on smaller screens, and so far, suggestions seem much smarter than they used to be. For instance, as soon as I launched the app for the first time in iOS 10, it offered up Android as a section of interest. That is obviously on point.
Home: HomeKit, Apple’s smart home protocol, has been around for years. An easy way to control and manage that system has not. That’s why Apple announced Home on Monday, a new app (sort of like Samsung’s SmartThings) that keeps track of everything going on in your smart abode. You can create scenes for every occasion. So you can tell Siri “Good Morning” and Home will automate your smarthome morning settings, like turning on the coffee maker, opening shades, setting lights to dim. I can’t wait to make a “Hangover” scene.
Maps: With the addition of third-party integrations, Apple has come a long way from the dumpster fire that used to be Apple Maps. Now, Apple offers en route traffic reports, slick animations, and better designed interface for searching for various points of interests. It’s not quite enough to dissuade me from Google’s own version of digital cartography but it’s not as big of a functional gap as it used to be.
Photos + Memories: If Home is a hat tip to SmartThings, Apple’s new Photos really wants you to stop downloading Google Photos for iPhone. With iOS 10, Apple is implementing image/face recognition as well as smart tools that can recognize trips and automatically create a small clip from videos or photos. This clip can even be edited to fit different songs and moods.
A new age for Messages: Messages has officially announced its intentions to dethrone Snapchat and Facebook Messenger as the messenger app to rule them all. It can best be described as the cutesification of messaging by adding tons of new features like handwritten notes, text animations, bigger emojis, animations that take up entire screens, and a whole new app store for loading up messages with GIFs, images, or whatever you can probably think of. It’s a huge overhaul, and there’s a reason why Federighi saved it for last on Monday.
Useful widgets: When Apple reintroduced Spotlight on iOS 9 as just a right swipe away from your homescreen, the results were underwhelming. Really, all it offered you were quick access to frequently used apps and contacts...woohoo. Now, that same screen real estate is essentially the old widgets drop-down menu. You can pick and choose which widgets live in Spotlight and also rearrange them to give some widgets preference over others. The idea is to get people actually using widgets. It just might work.
Rich 3D touch shortcuts: Apple demoed a cool way to pop-up app-specific widgets through 3D touch, and you can even add those widgets instantly right from the homescreen. Cool! Unfortunately, I could only get the widget working on Apple’s apps. Apps like ESPN do not seem to be live quite yet.
DELETE APPLE APPS: Now, you can delete almost all of Apple’s stock apps. Goodbye, “Apple Shit” folder. Technically, they’re not completely gone, but close enough. I won’t miss you.
3rd-party integrations: Since this is just a preview, it seems a few things aren’t quite live yet. For instance, I was unable to get Siri to interact with third-party apps like Uber (which was demoed on the stage) and Maps also doesn’t seem to have app integration quite yet.