It may just be down to me being a fan of milestones, but Apple’s iOS 10 – revealed at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) – is a little underwhelming. For the tenth upgrade to iPhone devices, I expected substantial upgrades, as opposed to tweaking individual apps. The big change in design happened with iOS 8, meaning there wasn’t anything too exciting for Apple to boast about this time, in terms of the user interface.
Instead, iOS 10’s most exciting upgrade is the changes to Messages – suggesting that this update to the iPhone’s operating system is one which focusses on the main functions of a phone: calls and texts. Of course, Apple revealed changes to Apple Music, Siri and Notes, but it’s these changes to messaging which has defined this year’s new operating system, and dominated reports on tech websites.
Aside from the new plans for iMessage, I like to think that iOS 10 offers something exciting for the deaf community. The new upgrade will see voicemail messages being transcribed and read, rather than being listened to. It can certainly help those who struggle to hear phone calls on the phone, and may provide an alternative for profoundly deaf people as well.
Emojis for iPhone was one of the main steps for Apple in terms of making messaging more personal. Text messaging has always been problematic when it comes to communicating emotions or tone of voice. Sarcasm is usually implied through italics, but whilst the option to italicise text is available on Notes, it’s yet to make the move to iMessage.
Facial expressions were communicated with emojis, and now bubble effects will help communicate excitement and sympathy. On top of that, hand-drawn messages also add personality to texts. Now, it’s about more than just the message.
It’s also worth adding that there are some changes I hope to see in iOS 10. As a Mac owner as well as an iPhone user, I’m a bit confused with the Calendar app. Whilst on the MacBook, users can set custom appointment times such as 10:21, events in the iPhone app can only be set at five-minute intervals. It would be great if there was some continuity on that front.
Apple’s tenth upgrade to the operating system is one which centres on a key function of any phone – messaging – but lacks something substantial to define such a milestone.