Underwhelming by design

There have been lots of articles like “iOS 10 chooses renovation over innovation” since Apple’s keynote on Monday.

I think they reflect the fact that when you download the first beta and put it on your old phone — because you’re too cowardly to put it on the handset you use every day — iOS 10 is slightly underwhelming. The first time you look at the home screen you see… pretty much no differences from iOS 9. So you launch Maps and see they moved the search bar to the bottom of the screen. You tap Messages and see some new icons at the bottom. But Mail looks the same. Safari seems to be unchanged.

This isn’t like iOS 7. Not every inch of the screen is different. This is more like iOS 8 where the promise is in the new APIs. And the problem with new APIs? You see nothing with the first beta. There are literally no apps that use them. Most developers don’t even have ideas of how to use them yet.

When I played with the iOS 8 betas, it just appeared to be like iOS 7 with a few fixes and the odd thing moved around. No biggie. As soon as it came out of beta and apps that used extensions became available there was no going back.

So, sure, maybe this isn’t innovation but I’m pretty confident that it’s much more substantial than just rennovation. The new APIs will prompt some interesting new ideas that you’ll be able to see in September. Be patient. Sometimes innovation is in the things you don’t see.