Last week Apple launched the Public Beta for iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, and like any red, white, and blue Georgia boy, I rushed home grabbed an older iPhone and an old iMac, logged into my Apple account, and downloaded the new digital toys.
I’ll get to macOS Sierra in a quick look later this week (you will love having Siri on the Mac), but the most fun came from iOS 10 installed on a nearly three-year-old iPhone. As usual, there’s good news, bad news, and fun news.
First, the bad news. There are bugs. Beta has a meaning. AirPlay would only display content from the iPad to the TV screen in Mirror mode (unless there’s a setting somewhere I couldn’t find; Apple tends to move things around). Oh, and I decided not to install watchOS 3 on my Watch. Beta means beta.
Second, the fun news. Messages is fun with animated stickers, and there are more options for 3D Touch (which are likely to find their way into updated apps by the end of the year).
Third, the good news. You will love my laundry list of iOS 10 highlights. Apple has worked hard to make iOS more usable and intuitive for the masses, and more highly integrated with other Apple products.
Maps – this once maligned app just gets better. Frequent locations are more visible, and include a time estimate to a destination from your current location. And it’s also on lock screen widget. There’s even an option to identify your parking spot at the mall.
3D Touch – I was not a fan with this was introduced because it didn’t really do much, but Apple has it running all over iOS 10, and in many cases it can shave a few touches (the iPhone equivalent of clicks). That means you don’t have to open your iPhone, then open an app, then open a menu because specific functions pop up on screen when you press a bit harder on the screen to involve 3D Touch.
Bedtime – historically, Apple has always been about the little things, and the little Bedtime setting in Clock is special. Enter when you want to wake up, and how many hours of sleep you want, and Bedtime tells you when to go to bed. There are new alarm sounds, too, and these are appropriate for waking you gently rather than with trumpet-like fanfare.
Photos – this hasn’t been my favorite photo management app (Google’s Photos has more features, but I don’t like how Google tracks me online, reads my email, watches which sites I visit… blah blah blah), so Apple’s new object recognition search is welcome. It’s easier to find related photos. Scanning photos takes longer than expected. Old iPhone?
Lock Screen & Widgets – this is long, long overdue. Yes, Notification Center had widgets but they clumsy at best, and my iPhone 6s Plus with Touch ID often meant instant access to the app launcher completely bypassing a glance at the Notifications. Now the lock screen is useful because there are all kinds of widgets that can be dropped into it, organized better, and that makes it more useful with less effort.
Messages – pure eye candy but a lot of fun which is destined to become more fun to the point of animated graphic clutter thanks to stickers of heartbeats, sketches, invisible ink, and all the stuff Android folks could do while waiting for malware to infect their smartphones.
Annoyance – when Apple makes changes to a user interface there’s bound to be a few things we thought worked just fine, but no longer do. Control Center has multiple pop up windows (of the swipe right and back to left variety) and that means Music playback is a few more steps to get to. Hopefully the Music location can be adjusted in a future update.
Otherwise, what’s coming to iPhone and iPad in iOS 10 is more usability, a more intuitive experience, and, of course, more integration with other devices made and sold by Apple.