Apple’s iOS turns 10, brings redesigned Maps and Music, lock screen improvements

Now that iOS 10 is finally here, Apple has given us a glimpse of the latest version at its yearly Worldwide Developers Conference. It’s chock0full of new features, as well as improvements to apps like Apple Music, Apple News, Siri, and more. Let’s dive in.

Apple Music redesign

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With 15 million subscribers under its belt, Apple Music is getting a huge design makeover from the “ground up.” The changes are easily noticeable, thanks to its black-and-white backgrounds, big, bold fonts, and a redesigned tab interfaces that makes it easier to browse. More importantly, you can finally access the lyrics to songs, making it super-easy to sing along. Swipe down when listening to a song to access the lyrics.

The tabs on the bottom of the app are mostly the same — the first is Library, and the second is “For You,” a section that curates music based on your tastes, and there’s even has a Discover Mix that helps you find new music. The Connect tab hasn’t been killed off as earlier rumors suggested, but it has been bundled into For You. The “Browse” category is next, and it’s for everyone — it’s music curated by Apple’s music editors, and essentially shows you what’s hot.

The fourth tab is Radio — the name speaks for itself — and the final tab is search. These new features will come with the iOS 10 update on an unspecified date in the fall.

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Lock screen and home screen improvements

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There’s a lot more you can do in the lock screen on iOS 10, and its got a visual refresh, too. When you pick up your device, a “raise to wake” feature will wake your device, and the background of the lock screen is no longer darkened — allowing you to see your wallpaper clearly. If you swipe from the left, you’ll get instant access to the camera, and if you swipe from the right, you will be able to access your widgets.

Also, 3D Touch plays a big role in the lock screen now, as putting pressure on notifications allows for expanded features like replying to messages without unlocking your phone. This can be expanded to third-party apps — for example, Apple’s software head Craig Federighi got an Uber notification, and he was able to find the location of his ride on a map while still in the lock screen. Thankfully, you can also clear all your notifications directly from the lock screen.

These 3D Touch features are also being extended to the home screen. Federighi used 3D Touch on the Mail app to show contacts he’s recently gotten emails from, and using it on the Activity app lets you quickly view your daily fitness progress. The Today view in the home screen also lets you drop widgets in easily, and pulling up the Control Center in the lock screen offers up a visual overhaul, but you can also swipe left to access more robust music controls.

HomeKit gets organized

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Managing all your apps and devices that support HomeKit can be a difficult and jumbled process. That’s why Apple made Home, a new app that keeps track of them in one place. You’ll be able to manage and interact with all of your devices with HomeKit support in this app — that means your garage, your lights, your thermostat, and more.

You can control each device separately, or create “scenes” that control a set of devices — “I’m Home,” for example, could be a scene to turn on the air conditioner and lights in specific rooms. And 3D Touch further expands on these settings with more information and additional options. HomeKit is now integrated into the Control Center and the lockscreen. Home will launch in the fall with iOS 10.

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Siri is open for business, and improves the iOS keyboard

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Siri gets 2 billion requests a week, but sometimes the assistant can be limiting if she can’t integrate with other third-party apps. Apple has retained tight control for most of Siri’s development over the years, but the company has allowed certain apps to be compatible with the assistant, like Yelp. That will soon be greatly expanded in iOS 10, as Apple is opening up Siri to developers.

You’ll be able to say “Hey Siri,” and perform functions in third-party apps if they add support. For example, Apple demonstrated sending a message via Siri with a third-party messaging app: “Hey Siri, send a WeChat message saying I’ll be five minutes late.” That’s all you need to do to control third-party applications via Siri in iOS 10.

Siri has also made her way to the newly renamed MacOS., and her brains also add some extra functionality to the iOS keyboard. Through the use of “deep learning” and upgrades to QuickType, the keyboard will read your messages to offer up additional information, like prefilling a calendar event, and offering up a contact’s information or your current location when someone asks “where are you?”

The keyboard now lets you type in multiple languages at the same time — a long-awaited boon for you multilingual people. All of these “deep learning” features happen on the device, so your information is still end-to-end encrypted and secure.

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iMessage gets cool

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Apple spent a lot of time on iMessage at WWDC this year, and for good reason. The popular messaging app isn’t coming to Android as rumors suggested, but it’s getting a lot more features like bubble effects, thumbs up messages, Digital Touch, and more. But the biggest announcement is that Apple is opening up iMessage — developers can add app integrations through a new iMessage Apps section. These integrations range from goofy stickers to using apps like Square Pay to pay people without ever having to leave iMessage.

And iMessage finally supports rich links, so when you send a URL, the title, art, and description will show up below the link. Videos now play in a message, and iMessage can now replace select words with emojis, thanks to a new emojification feature. Once triggered, words that can be converted to an emoji will be highlighted. Just tap on them, choose the emoji you want, and it will get replaced. Emojis also now show up three times bigger.

Bubble effects add a bit of character to your messages — you can send them big or small depending if you want a loud of soft tone. It’s similar to Google Allo’s “whisper” or “shout” feature. There are a lot more effects like “Invisible Ink,” which hides your message in animated sparkles. Swiping your finger across the message reveals the message’s content.

Full-screen effects will also let you burst confetti, launch fireworks, float balloons, and more all over your thread. You can also react to individual messages, which is really similar to Slack’s “add reaction” feature. And Digital Touch lets you draw a message and have it play back when you send it.

Read more here

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