If you are impatient and need gimmicky new technology updates (like I am,) you probably downloaded iOS 10 as soon as you could. Certain features are helpful; for example, I enjoy being able to search my photos by the people in them, especially when I’m looking for a high-quality embarrassing photo of a friend. I don’t, however, urgently need to send my heartbeat to a friend.
The update’s aesthetic is different enough to be noticeable, but similar enough to remain familiar. Some of the most confusing changes are the new lock and typing sounds. I can imaging that some software engineer probably spent weeks perfecting the subtle, hollow sound of a door closing that now graces iPhones around the world.
Although this aesthetic “upgrade” seems pretty useless, I truly appreciate the fact that now, the Clock app is black with white lettering instead of white with black lettering. It makes setting alarms so much easier on the eyes, especially late at night.
In terms of functionality, the Clock app now has a feature that uses sleep cycle science to suggest a bedtime to optimize the amount of sleep that one gets based on preferences. By incorporating this function into a standard iPhone application, Apple has all but eliminated users’ need to download and use a separate app for sleep cycle tracking. In fact, many new features of the operating system in standard apps seem eerily familiar for users of other applications.
For example, the Messages app now incorporates everything I love about GroupMe, including a built-in GIF keyboard and the ability to react to messages, in my most-used application.
These features are most compatible with other iOS 10 users, so group messages involving Android users will probably still be most at home on an external messaging app.
To top it off, the Messages app goes above and beyond the capabilities of other messaging apps. Users can now send messages with effects, including invisible ink, lasers and confetti, and even send messages in their own handwriting.
While it might be romantic and whimsical, sending handwritten messages via iPhone is not exactly practical.
Some features of iOS 10 are meant to simplify user experience by integrating multiple apps into each other, especially in Messages. For example, there is now a tab in the messaging application that allows users to access other apps, including Music and Venmo. But integration with apps like Open Table and Fandango make planning nights out in group chats much more streamlined and foolproof.
Overall, the improvements point to an integrated, social and playful future of iPhone use.