WWDC 2016

iOS 10: Messages getting the bulk of upgrades

Among the upgrades for Messages are enlarged emojis, emoji suggestions and replacing keywords with emojis in a message.
Among the upgrades for Messages are enlarged emojis, emoji suggestions and replacing keywords with emojis in a message. PHOTO: APPLE

Photos, Apple Maps not left out with new, neat features

There are so many features packed into the upcoming iOS 10 that an entire keynote address at the WWDC 2016 would not be able to introduce them all.

For a start, there is a "Raise to Wake" feature that wakes up the iPhone's lock screen when you raise the iPhone to eye level.

This is so that you can look at the new rich notifications whereby you can get more information from various apps, such as Weather and News, on the lock screen. Otherwise, you would have gone straight to the home screen when you unlock the iPhone via Touch ID.

Photos gets a new Memories feature that will automatically create a slideshow from photos and videos based on time, geo-location and face-recognition.

You can also create a slideshow with music without needing another editing app.

Apple Maps now has a more intuitive interface with larger buttons and fonts. And with third-party extensions now available, you can potentially book a Uber ride without leaving Apple Maps.

Messages seems to have got the most upgrades, including enlarged emojis that are three times bigger than those in iOS 9. It also has emoji suggestions, which a messaging app like Line already has.

But Messages will allow you to tap and replace keywords with emojis, after you compose a message.

Furthermore, messages can have multiple bubble animations, such as a message appearing big before returning to normal size for impact. You can even send a hidden message or photo that the recipient needs to swipe in order to see it. There are full-screen effects like confetti or fireworks to go with your message.

You can reply to messages with handwritten notes, or Digital Touch interactive cards. Just like Digital Touch on Apple Watch, you can draw a heart shape and send it to your loved ones.

With third-party extensions, Messages will have its own app drawer to install compatible apps from App Store. And with support for stickers and multimedia cards, you can imagine the amount of stickers available to buy and download for use.

According to an Apple representative, artists can just compile their stickers and send it to the app store without the need to code them. I am already relishing the prospect of sending Minions stickers to my friends soon.

iOS 10 will be available as a free update around September.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2016, with the headline 'iOS 10: Messages getting the bulk of upgrades'. Print Edition | Subscribe