At its 2016 WWDC developer conference in San Francisco today, Apple unveiled the next version of iOS.
The 3D Touch capability in newer iOS devices is becoming far more capable. You’ll be able to touch on items on a redesigned lock screen, and you can do more when you push down on specific app icons.
Notifications have been redesigned. So has the Control Center, with changes specifically coming to its music controls. You’ll be able to do things with connected-home systems through a new Home app that’s integrated into the Control Center, as well as the lock screen.
But now iOS is getting something that has only been available in some Android devices: raise to wake. It’s just like it sounds — the display turns on and the lock screen activates when you raise your iOS device in the air.
This is just as you would expect for Apple’s annual developer conference — now developers will know what will be possible for current and future applications. Meanwhile, users can get a taste of what they’ll get when they upgrade (or switch from another platform).
Here’s a rundown of some of the other features of the upcoming iOS release that will distinguish it from its predecessor, iOS 9:
- A completely revamped Photos app that will more directly take on Google’s cross-platform Google Photos app. Face recognition, object recognition, and scene recognition will draw on deep learning, an increasingly popular type of artificial intelligence, just like Google Photos does. But the big distinction here is that Apple won’t be doing all the important processing remotely — that will be happening locally, in line with Apple’s historical preference for privacy over data sharing, which differs from Google. The app will cluster photos based on people, groups of people, topics, and even trips. It will surface highlights of a weekend or even a year. It will automatically make slick videos called Memory Movies with background music. Oh, and you can run the app on Apple TV.
- The default iOS keyboard is also drawing heavily on deep learning. Siri’s suggestions about next words to type will be more intelligent. Siri can automatically generate calendar events based on information in things like text messages. The app will be able to check calendar availability for a certain date and time, it will show your current location, integrate with contact information, show recent addresses, type with multiple languages, and look up locations such as movie theaters and restaurants.
- Apple Maps is becoming more proactive. There will be suggestions when you slide up from the bottom. There’s new information about traffic on your route, and you can pan and zoom to see the traffic a while away, just like Google Maps. You’ll be able to search for things like gas stations on your route. This will all be available on CarPlay, of course. The app will let users choose routes that avoid tolls. There will be an extension of Apple Maps that will let developers add in third-party integrations like OpenTable and Uber. And Apple Maps will display air quality information in China.
- Apple Music, which now has more than 15 million paying users, has been redesigned. It’s added a new lyrics feature, too.
- Apple News is redesigned. You’ll be able to subscribe to publications, get breaking news notifications on the lock screen, get news about specific topics you’re interested in, and see featured stories.
- A new Home app that will let you do things with your home by drawing on the existing HomeKit technology. You can have Siri perform actions with the Home app in reaction to voice commands. Home will integrate with Apple Watch, too.
- The Phone app is getting automatic transcription of voicemails. There’s a new look for incoming calls, and there will be integrations with third-party calling apps like WhatsApp that can take advantage of the redesign.
- The Messages app is getting rich links that show photos and even videos. Emojis will show up three times bigger in the app. It will offer emoji predictions (this feature came first to Google’s Gboard for iOS), and it will even highlight words that can be turned into emojis and automatically convert text to emoji with a tap. You can add visual effects to the chat bubbles, which eventually resolve to regular message bubbles. And that applies to photos, too. You can tap a thumbs-up just like Facebook, and you can use handwritten messages. You can draw a message using a Digital Touch feature, and you can also show “full-screen effects” that temporarily adjust the background of the message window. Songs from Apple Music can be played right in chat messages, including in group chats.
And Messages is being opened up to developers, so that you can use several other apps right inside Messages. For example, you can drop GIFs into message transcripts, or you can order food without leaving the app.
- The Notes app will let multiple people collaborate on documents, just like Microsoft Word and Google Docs.
- The FaceTime app for making calls will be end-to-end encrypted by default. That’s a big difference from the upcoming Duo video calling app from Google. And FaceTime will connect more quickly.
- The Swift Playgrounds app for iPad will become available for download for free.
- The Camera app will launch more quickly than in previous iOS releases.
- The Safari app will let you keep an unlimited number of tabs open. And the Split View feature for the iPad Pro now allows you to have two Safari windows open at one time.
- The iCloud Drive app will show your desktop folder from a Mac.
- The stock Clock app is getting a bedtime alarm.
The developer preview of iOS 10 available today. It will become available in beta in July and as a free upgrade in the fall.
As for device support, iOS 10 will be rolled out to iPhone 5 and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro devices, iPad 4th generation, iPad mini 2, and later, and the 6th-generation iPod touch, Apple said in a statement.
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