Last month Apple released iOS 10 — the latest upgrade to the iPhone and iPad operating systems (10.0.2 was recently made available). iPhones from 5 up and third-generation iPads should be able to be upgraded.
While there are changes to notification styles and sounds, it is apps such as Photos, Music, Maps and Messages that have changed most.
There’s a bunch of new features in Messages, including animated handwriting messages, new display options, one-tap responses, predictive emojis and "invisible ink" messaging.
Some of these are obviously gimmicky. But I like that Apple has been so playful in this release. In fact, "more playful" is a theme for iOS 10 — as are "more personal" and "more powerful".
The "more personal" is evident in the redesigned Photo app. Alongside your albums and photo feed, there is a Memories option that groups images rather intuitively according to dates and locations. In my Memories feed, for example, it has created an album for the trip I took to Nieu Bethesda last year, not just grouping those images and videos, but even auto-generating a charming shareable video of the trip.
Maps has also been overhauled, and Siri integrates with more apps than before.
The new Home app is a cool space for linking and controlling the smart devices in your home, including lighting, security and appliances.
Of course, you can’t make everyone happy all the time. Many users have complained on social media about having to actually push the Home button to unlock the device with a fingerprint. Sure, it is a tiny niggle, but it does slow down the unlock process. The good news is that you can revert to the previous version, where you rest a finger on the button to unlock the phone.
There’s a lot more going on with the lock-screen space than that though. Swiping to the left launches the camera. Swiping to the right brings up the new widget menu. Defaults include weather and calendar widgets.
Maybe it is the novelty of new shapes, colours, features and transitions, but I love an operating system upgrade. I usually download it as soon as possible, and it makes me fall a little bit in love with my device again. Plus, I can finally remove the Stocks app!
Pros: Smart functions on lock screen; more Siri integration
Cons: Nothing substantive
For more: apple.com/za/ios/ios-10
Cool factor: *****