Rather than introduce chatbots into its Messages messaging app, Apple has elected to bolster the app with app extensions called iMessage apps in iOS 10, which Apple is making available to everyone today.
Now that millions of users will start seeing the little App Store icon at the bottom of their chats in Messages — a button that brings up a drawer revealing stickers and other things that you can send, along with a shortcut to the newly launched iMessage App Store — lots of developers will inevitably build iMessage apps for their existing apps. But there are already plenty of iMessage apps available now, sprinkled throughout the regular iOS App Store.
Apps that have them are labeled “Offers iMessage App” on its page in the App Store, just like they’re labeled if they have Apple TV apps or Apple Watch apps. From the management window, you can choose if you’d like Messages to automatically add iMessage apps for apps on your device that work with iMessage. When you try out the available iMessage apps, you can get a sense of the wide range of functions that are possible now within a previously restricted and simple app. It’s definitely a turning point.
Here are 25 of the first iMessage apps that are live as of today:
The iMessage app available from Afar magazine’s travel guide app lets you drop in travel-related stickers into your conversations.
Supertop’s $3.99 Castro podcasting app has an iMessage app that lets you share podcasts you’ve listened to.
Citymapper’s iMessage app lets you send someone a map of your current location, your home, or your work.
The iMessage app for this $1.99 third-party keyboard app from Echelon Creative lets you send stickers that have to do with the country music singer Dierks Bentley.
The iMessage app that now ships with Agile Tortoise’s $4.99 Drafts note-taking app makes it easy to send full-text documents to others. No need to copy and paste — just tap and send.
This note-taking app has made it possible to share a note with someone else with just a tap. Once they’ve received it, they can view it or choose to save it to their own Evernote account.
Genius’ iMessage app lets you browse and search for songs and send lyric snippets on top of images of the song’s music artist.
The iMessage app from this animated GIF-sharing app does just what you would expect. You can browse and search for GIFs and then send, one after the other.
IMDb’s iMessage app lets you send a deep link for a TV show or movie. For movies that are currently showing in theaters, it provides deep links to showtimes.
The iTranslate iMessage app presents you with a keyboard that will translate your text into many different languages. The resulting iMessages show the text in both the original language and the translation.
The iMessage app for Justmoji, a $1.99 third-party keyboard app, gives you fast access to standard and customizable Justin Bieber stickers, videos, and animated GIFs.
The iMessage app you get once you’ve bought LookUp for $2.99 provides cards illustrating definitions of words.
The OpenTable iMessage app gives a social take on the regular OpenTable app, in the sense that you can select potential places to get a meal and then send a card the other person can tap to open, vote on each of the places you selected, and tap a time to make a reservation.
The Plated food delivery service’s iMessage app offers up some cute food-related stickers.
PlayKids’ iMessage app lets you send animated stickers of the app’s cute cartoon characters.
Polaroid Swing loops a very short segment of video you take with your mobile device. The corresponding iMessage app lets you share them with others.
This iMessage app, which is a simplified version of the main Rex app, presents you with human-generated recommendations for many kinds of content: movies, music, books, TV shows, videos, podcasts, articles, food and drink, places, and apps and games. Once you’ve sent along a recommendation for a specific piece of media, the other person can digest the content, but also see people’s comments on it and even add comments through the Rex app.
The iMessage app for Scanbot, the mobile PDF scanning app, gives you a little widget for quickly snapping a picture of a document, automatically cleaning it up, and then sharing it.
Rinat Khanov’s $1.99 Snappy Browser — an app that only works as an iMessage app — brings a fast-moving miniature browser to your messaging app. Web search is built right in; sharing a website is just a matter of hitting the Send button, and you can check out a previously visited sites page, too.
The iMessage app for Tenor, formerly Riffsy, lets you search for and share animated GIFs and even turn them into stickers. Plus, with the cameras on your iOS device, you can even record video and turn that into shareable GIFs. You can also create packs of GIFs and stickers.
The iMessage app accompanying this calendar app lets you share events from your calendar.
Triller’s iMessage app boils down the app’s ability to record and add filters to videos that you can share.
This is only an iMessage app — that is, it’s not a companion app to any regular iOS app. It lets you set dates and times and locations for getting together with others. You can select restaurants, bars, and cafes. You can make reservations, read reviews, get discounts, pull up directions, check out pictures, follow specific places, and, of course, share your proposed plans.
Yelp lets you share restaurants that you recently viewed in the app. It directs you to search for new things within the app, and the iMessage recipient is brought to the Yelp app, too.
The iMessage app you get with P Softhouse’s $2.99 Zen Brush 2 lets you choose from existing artfully drawn images and send them as either images or stickers — but it also provides you with the full app’s classic canvas for drawing your own simple but beautiful brush art.