Whats New in iOS 10

With iOS 10, iPhone and iPad are about to get a bigger, bolder, and more brilliant makeover in more ways than one. iOS 7 was a complete redesign, wiping away rich textures and putting physics-based interactions in its place. iOS 8 was a functional revolution, decoupling features and activities from apps and letting them extend into other interfaces and continue across devices. iOS 9 introduced intelligence and proactivity, making the system and apps smarter from server to search. Now, iOS 10 takes the next step, using all of the advances that came before to make messaging more fun and flexible, Siri more open and accessible, notifications more persistent and convenient, and the entire experience cleaner and clearer.


iOS 10 Compatibility

Apple didn't go so far as to exclude all 32-bit devices from iOS 10 compatibility, but they did drop several older models from the list, including all non-Retina display devices.
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inches
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inches
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air
  • iPad 4
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPad mini 2
  • iPod touch 6


Lock screen, notifications, and controls

"Slide to unlock", a gesture that helped define the original iPhone experience, is gone. "Press home to unlock" — or "Press home to open" if you've authenticated with Touch ID — has replaced it. It was a little confusing at first, but once you get used to the other lock screen changes, it just feels right.

Control Center has been redesigned, and it, too, sacrifices density for legibility. In this case, though, I'm not sure the tradeoff is as worthwhile. Instead of a single pane there are now three panes, one for settings and tools, one for media controls, and one for HomeKit. You swipe between them and it feels... slow. I'm not sure if a tabbed representation, like notification center, would feel faster, or if I'll just get used to it with time.



For iPhone 7 Plus, there are new features in the Camera app to go with that new two lens system. There's a 2x button that, when you tap it, switches you to optical zoom. There's also a one-hand optimized circular interface that lets you thumb across from 2x optical to up to 10x digital.

Coming in October through a free software update, there'll also be a blur effect mode. Using both lenses, iPhone 7 will create a depth map, isolate any faces or objects, and then apply a blur effect to simulate high depth of field bokeh.

The samples look great, like they were shot with a great portrait camera and lens. Which iPhone 7 now has!



Messages, the most popular app on iOS, has been significantly updated for iOS 10. Quick selfies have moved from a touch-and-hold button to a live view in the photo picker. Digital Touch — sketches, heartbeats, and taps — has been brought over from the Apple Watch, and you can layer them on top of images and videos now as well. It makes Digital Touch available to an exponentially larger potential user base, but I'm not sure how many people will actually use it beyond some initial experimentation. Not so with the new emoji. 

They're going to be big. Literally.

Privacy and Photos

Apple believes privacy and security are key differentiators and points of attraction for the company's software and services, and lists them as major features as important as user experience. With iOS 10, Apple is again improving both with everything from encryption through extensions to differentiated privacy, which goes beyond anonymizing data to making sure no one, not even Apple, knows who the crowd is behind the crowd-sourcing.

Maps and Siri apps

Maps has gotten a makeover and I'm still getting used to it. (I had the old version down to muscle memory.) A lot of it is good, especially the much bigger, easier to see destination recommendations and controls. And it's absolutely simpler to use. It's also getting the same kind of proactive predictions Apple started introducing for Siri last year.

Home, Music, and News

Music and News have gotten complete makeovers in iOS 10, and the new Home app joins them in being "big, bold, and beautiful."

iPad and Swift Playgrounds


iPad doesn't fare as well this year as last. Safari can now go into Split View all by itself, either via a long press, a two-finger tap, or dragging a tab to the right edge of the screen. It works great. You can still go into multi-app Split View from Safari Split View. It'll collapse Safari back down to a single window but come right back to where you left it when you return.

There are a few other new features, like a redesigned Camera app, but nothing approaching the level of "pro" that we got in iOS 9. No drag-and-drop, for example.

My guess is that Apple isn't forgetting about iPad differentiation but is simply staggering it. iOS 10.0 is about updating everything, and more iPad-specific features will follow in a future update.

That said, there is one monumental new iPad feature, in the form of an app: Swift Playground. It's absolutely not Xcode for iOS, but it could be something even more important. Not since Hypercard has there been as powerful a way to get people familiar with code, and there's never been one offering well-integrated educational content like Playgrounds.

The potential for both the app and the ecosystem is tremendous, and my guess is its announcement will go down as one of the most important moments in programming for the next generation.

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