A review of iOS 10 (updated)

The first 12 hours with the new release

UPDATED: Check here the latest version.

iOS 10 is out and is one of the most chatted releases. Here’s a quick review.

The upgrading experience

Apple has become really fast in releasing fixes, especially when they are security ones. This time is was to address an issue which soft-bricked some devices and required iTunes to finish the upgrade or to restore them. The available version is now iOS 10.0.1 and most of the apps work fine. I’d say it’s safe to upgrade.

They have also improved their server infrastructure and now downloading a new release together with millions of iDevices on first 12 hours is smooth.

A bold iOS release

A major update is always something halfway serious. Here are some things I like.

  • Security fixes and PPTP protocol drop;
  • QuickType keyboard supporting multiple languages. As I thought, it means improvements to Apple’s neural-network-powered voice recognition software running on their servers, which now uses DNN (Deep Neural Networks). Side effects are: Siri’s got a much more natural and fluent speaking and Dictation now understands English words while user’s talking in another language. That’s a big deal for people, like me, who are not English or American;
  • SiriKit: Siri is open to developers (WhatsApp already supports the feature, be sure you’re running 2.16.10 and above)
  • Photos app supports locations, faces and smart search. It is powered by the same neural networks and AI above but recognition happens on your phone and it uses differential privacy. API are also available;
  • It feels faster, animations are faster;
  • Redesigned control center, which is now less clunky;
  • HomeKit support has improved and you can use an iPad as home hub;
  • MapsKit which provides third-party integrations to Apple Maps. I know for some people it is not as cool as third-part sticker packs for iMessage, but it looks promising;
  • I can disable some stock apps so I can finally set third-part mail apps as default one or disable Stocks if I use Bloomberg;
  • No need to upgrade all your devices to continue to use iCloud (like we were forced to do 2 years ago after the release of OS X Yosemite, iOS 8 and iCloud Drive);
  • Unlimited tabs in Safari and two side-by-side windows on iPad;

All the little things…

It doesn’t stop here. There are more little welcome changes.

  • Spotlight search is now accessible from every app by pulling the notification pane;
  • Added Inbox toggle and filters in the Mail app (lower left corner);
  • I can now see signal strength when ‘back-to app’ is present in the top left corner;
  • Option to limit the max amount of space used by Apple Music. If needed, it will delete songs you haven’t listened to in a while ;
  • CallKit, to have full screen caller picture even for VoIP apps (like WhatsApp);
  • I know it’s funny, but I like the overhauled iMessage and UI effects. I like less its (unoriginal and pricey) sticker store.

The dark side

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, so these are the things I don’t like.

  • Keyboard clic sound, it’s awful;
  • I cannot group notifications by app (is it better?);
  • Everything seems bigger and my 4.7” iPhone displays like a 3.5” one. Fortunately there’s still a setting for that;
  • Bold clock text in lock screen is far less elegant then light San Francisco. What are you doing Apple?
  • By default you have to clic the home button to pass past the lock screen after unlocking your phone with touch ID. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Home button to revert this.

More to be tested

  • Sync of machine learning data from Photos app to macOS Sierra;
  • Accessing Desktop and Documents content on the go via iCloud app (requires macOS Sierra);
  • Universal copy and paste;
  • iMessage features with friends (I was the first to upgrade);
  • Many other things I forgot… I will update this post if needed.

I hope you’ve found this article interesting. Thanks for reading.

Originally published at fpira.com on September 13, 2016.

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