By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
iOS 10 is the next best thing to a complete redesign of iOS because it relies on our familiarity with the OS but also pushes various critical functions forward in order to save time and make using our devices more efficient.
On the surface iOS 10, which was made available online as a free update to existing and eligible iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices, doesn't seem like a very huge visual upgrade.
The most venerable and really, oldest, modern mobile operating system, still retains much of the look and feel we've been used to for going on 10 years now. iOS 7 brought the biggest visual update and we've since seen refinements and locking down of the user interface for more precise and interoperable features.
iOS 10's got quite a list of new features that fundamentally change the way we user our devices. Having been on the public beta since it was announced in July, I've lived with iOS 10 on my various Apple devices and have grown to like many of its features.
One of the most useful features is Raise to Wake, which simply lights up your display and shows notifications when you pick up the phone.
It is a proactive feature that saves one time. You can now directly act on notifications or messages, this means you can effectively tap out a quick response right on the home screen without having to open an app and drill down menus.
Notifications are much more robust and better organized. You can silence and vanquish them all quite easily as well.
I also found that typing on the iOS keyboard was much smarter and quicker (although still not as quick as swiping in the way Android devices work). If you are a multilingual typist, iOS 10 is more open to mixing and matching words or even idioms from various languages.
Apple's Messages app has become a full-blown ecosystem and now incorporates various ways to communicate other than old fashion texting or typing. There is a range of effects that can make words come to life to better express ideas and feelings.
We now have a range of stickers, animated .gifs, and badges to dot and punctuate these ideas (or to really annoy people we're communicating with).
Messages has clearly taken a couple of features from popular chat applications like Snapchat in order to resonate with younger users as well as make iOS 10 a hipper vessel for communication.
How serious is Apple in expanding Messages? They have an app store just for this messaging platform with a wide selection of third party add-ons and apps, a lot of these are paid apps, too. From what I hear, they're quite popular.
Interoperability and Proactive features
In the quest to make the iPhone and iPad even more personal, Apple has pushed for better predictive, proactive and interoperable features within iOS 10. This includes enabling certain apps to invoke properties of apps and services without the user having to manually search and tap.
In the new Maps app, for example, you can not only map your destination, you also get to call an Uber or reserve a table at a restaurant without having to leave the app.
Maps also figures out where you parked your car, a feature that Google Maps has enabled for years but the way Apple does it is less creepy. Sorry Google.
Widgets, which are micro-apps appearing on the home screen make it possible to gleam important information at a glance and provide a great way to preview information. Apple has really found great ways to circumvent the tedium of having to scan through the sea of apps, access an app, dive into the menu and then get the info you need.
Control Centre, which brings up a menu when you swipe up on any screen gives quick and effective access to most use feature toggles (i.e. Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Quiet Time, Rotation local, AirPlay, AirDrop, Night shit and quick shortcuts to the Flashlight (now with three brightness setting, the timer, calculator and the camera).
An even smarter Siri
While it seems that Siri's growth has somewhat been stunted in recent years, the OG personal assistant becomes more of a presence in iOS 10.
Siri can control and open various third-party-apps. If you use the Square Cash personal payments feature you can tell Siri to "pay Joe five dollars with Square Cash," and Siri will do it.
If you want to reach out to someone on LinkedIn, you can say, "Hey Siri, send a LinkedIn message to Chloe that says, "Thanks for coming in for your interview, we'll be in touch shortly."
It is also possible to use Siri to search photos on your camera roll using various keywords to describe the setting, context or content of the photos. More apps will become more extensible and accessible via Siri as iOS 10 evolves.
iOS 10 is the next best thing to a complete redesign of iOS because it relies on our familiarity with the OS but also pushes various critical functions forward in order to save time and make using our devices more efficient. iOS works beyond the limitations of icons on the screen and makes it possible to access specific functions within apps quickly.
Apple's engineers have managed to do this in a most fluid and friction-free way that isn't only intuitive for the most part, but which doesn't mess with the best thing about iOS, its rock-solid foundation.
As a free upgrade to most iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad uses, getting iOS 10 is a no-brainer since it really brings these devices up to speed in many respects plus makes the user experience way better and more intuitive. One suggestion would be to install iOS 10 via iTunes by plugging your iOS device to a Mac or PC. This ensures a faster, safer and more successful way to upgrade.
iOS 10 makes iPhones and iPads better devices with more user-focused and intuitive features geared towards more control, a wider range of Message communications options and a more solid foundation.
Rating: 5 out of 5