Apple’s latest update to its mobile operating system, iOS 10, lands today. While it’s not a radical overhaul, it does pack some fairly big changes.

Officially, the release time is 10 a.m. on the West Coast. It’s available to everyone with an iPhone 5 or newer, an iPad Air or newer, an iPad Mini 2 or newer, iPad 4, or an iPod touch 6th generation or newer.

There will be a lot to take in once you do manage to get it downloaded and installed. Here are some key features:

iMessage

With the immense popularity of chat apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, observers had been urging Apple to do more with its own iMessage. This year, the company delivers.

Among the new features in iMessage, there will be bigger emojis, predictive emojis, visual effects, handwritten messages, drawing tools, and the option to pull in music from Apple Music. Most importantly, iMessage is being opened to developers, and the company just launched an iMessage app store.

Apple Music

Apple’s streaming service app is getting a makeover that VentureBeat’s Jordan Novet says is a big step forward, as Apple has “improved the overall design, as well as the experience.”

Novet adds:

It’s a matter of taste, but I prefer the bold typeface that’s now prevalent in the title pages of the new app, instead of the thin, small, and delicate look introduced in iOS 7. That cosmetic change is reflective of an app that’s a little more confident about its role in life: a tidy place for the music you own, a vast warehouse of songs to play, and a tool for discovering new music.

Read his full review here.

Lock Screen

With iOS 10, there’s going to be a lot more you can do on your lock screen without even unlocking your iPhone.

With the new Raise to Wake feature, the screen will illuminate when you pick up the iPhone. And iOS 10 includes richer notifications that you can interact with right from the lock screen — without having to swipe to unlock. Plus, the Notification Center will allow you to add a bevy of new widgets with info you can view right from the lock screen.

Apple News

Apple’s News app has been a mixed bag for publishers since its debut over a year ago. So the company updated it with subscription features for publishers and a greater ability to send breaking news notifications and stories that (as noted above) can be read on the lock screen.

The interface also has a new look, with news topics that evolve as you read and interact with the app.

Other stuff: 

The full list of new goodies is actually massive. But we would highlight:

  • Photo App overhaul with face recognition, object recognition, and auto-generated Memory Movies from your photos.
  • Voice mail transcription for voice mail messages!
  • Siri can be accessed by developers for their apps.

 

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