In less than two weeks from now, Apple will be giving us a sneak peek of iOS 10, the next major iOS update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, at WWDC 2016. The company has announced major versions of iOS at its yearly developer conference, and this year is going to be no different.
Like previous years, a lot regarding iOS 10 has already leaked through reliable sources and rumors, which give us a good idea of what to expect from the next major release of iOS.
The OS is expected to bring a plethora of new features, with certain pre-bundled apps being revamped. This includes Apple making Siri more powerful and smarter, releasing a standalone HomeKit app, improving the Photos app, and more with the next iOS release. Read below to know in detail what Apple is rumored and expected to introduce in iOS 10.
Minor User Interface Refresh
There are rumors that there is going to be user interface refresh, but it will be a minor one and nothing like the major overhaul from iOS 6 to iOS 7. According to Mark Gruman, there could be a little bit more color in Notification Center and more rounded edges in some places.
Smarter and powerful Siri
Compared to Google Now, Apple’s virtual assistant — Siri — feels awfully limited in what it can do. Apple has made minor enhancements to Siri over the years, while in the same time, Google has gone ahead and improved Google Now/Voice Actions drastically. Plus, the company has not implemented many features due to privacy issues, which has greatly limited Siri’s abilities.
Exactly how Apple plans to improve Siri remains unclear, but the company is working on an SDK for its virtual assistant that will allow third-party developers to hook into it. This alone should greatly enhance Siri’s capabilities and make it smarter and powerful. This should make it possible to directly book an Uber directly through Siri, make hotel reservations, and more. Siri in iOS 10 is also expected to get better HomeKit integration, which at this point, is simply awful.
A more powerful Siri will also allow Apple to use the virtual assistant in its Amazon Echo competitor, which the company is rumored unveil sometime later this year.
Standalone HomeKit app
Right now, managing a plethora of HomeKit devices in iOS is a very frustrating experience. It has long been rumored that Apple will be launching a standalone HomeKit app that will allow one to control various HomeKit-enabled devices in their home or office, but the app is yet to see the light of the day. With iOS 10 though, Apple may finally get around to releasing the app, if an Apple employee working in the marketing department of the company is to be believed.
What exactly the standalone HomeKit app will be capable of doing remains unclear for now, though it will offer a way to control all your HomeKit-enabled devices from one place.
Revamped Apple Music
Surprisingly, Apple is believed to be revamping Apple Music with iOS 10 — less than a year after its official unveiling. The redesigned user interface of the app will see the Apple Music app shift towards a black-and-white design that makes gracious use of the artwork to avoid any dull displays. It will also make extensive use of 3D Touch. The “For you” section of the app will also be getting a huge upgrade with a simplified UI, though the recommendation engine will remain the same. The redesign will also see the app gain lyrics integration.
Improved Photos app
Let’s be honest: the current Photos app in iOS is a nightmare. I find the UI a bit confusing and the app just too limited regarding functionality it offers. The Photos is rumored to get a major update in iOS 10 with annotation features like the capability to add text captions, draw arrows, etc. The markup feature is currently available only in the Mail app, but it could become a system-wide feature, and will be deeply integrated with the Photos app. Photos may also get a couple of new pro-editing options.
Ability to Remove apps
If Android has bloatware, iOS has its fair share of stock system apps that no one uses. These apps cannot be uninstalled because they are too deeply tied to the system, and the best way to keep them away from your eyesight is to place them simply in a ‘Junk’ folder.
With iOS 10, Apple is widely expected to be able to allow users to uninstall, or at least hide, pre-loaded system apps that they don’t need or use. Apple had acknowledged this issue last year soon after the launch of the iPhone 6s, so the feature should make its way to iOS 10. iTunes metadata has also suggested that iOS 10 may finally give users the capability to remove stock apps. However, it remains to be seen if we will also be able to set or change the default app if we remove the stock app.
iMessage sure does adhere to Apple’s ‘It just works’ tagline, but it feels far too barebones now. Other popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram offer a significant number of more features than iMessages. While there have not been any leaks or rumors on this front, I’d expect Apple to make some improvements to its iMessages app to make sure it keeps up with time.
Apple could also add the ability to send money to people using iMessage via Apple Pay.
Improved Control Center
Apple introduced Control Center with the release of iOS 7 in 2013. Since then, Control Center has remained largely the same, with only some minor tweaks and additions over the last two years. However, its high time Apple makes it possible for users to customize Control Center according to their liking. Being able to customize the shortcuts being shown and being able to add additional shortcuts are a feature that Control Center desperately needs. While there have not been any hints of Apple improving Control Center with iOS 10, there is always hope that the company is secretly listening to all the user feedback and implementing them.
Improved Notification Center
Let’s be honest: the notification center in iOS sucks. Compared to Android, the notification center in iOS feels awfully useless, and it just amazes me that Apple has continued to ignore such a crucial part of the OS for so long. While Apple has made some improvements over the last couple of years to the notification center, it is in dire need of a complete overhaul. With iOS 10, let’s hope that Apple finally gets around to doing that.
Enhanced Lock Screen
Last but not least, the Lock screen could also get some enhancements such as the Glances features available on the Apple Watch, but optimized for iPhone screen.
Release Date and Compatibility
While the first beta of iOS 10 should be released during WWDC 2016, the final version of the OS will be released in September a week before iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus go on sale. As for compatibility, while Apple has not revealed anything, iOS 10 should be compatible with iPhone 5 and newer, with support for iPhone 4s being dropped this year.
The above is just a short list of the improvements that Apple is expected to be making in iOS 10. It goes without saying that other key iOS features like Apple Pay, Apple Maps, and iCloud should also see some improvements, though not much is known on that front.
Are you excited about these iOS 10 features? What’s on your iOS 10 wish list? Let us know in the comments and join us next week for non-stop coverage of the event as it happens.