iOS 10 release date, news, features and beta
Update: iOS 10 is being readied with new features on Monday in beta form. Its WWDC-timed launch is likely to include new Siri smarts and tweaks to Photos, HomeKit, Apple Pay and Music.
Apple’s iOS 10 update for iPhone and iPad is the milestone software version that’s almost certainly going to launch on Monday at WWDC 2016.
Downloading the iOS 10 beta on June 13 and the final release three months later is now so routine, it’s no longer a big scheduling surprise. But where Apple takes the mobile operating system is still a mystery.
We’re just now reporting on the first iOS 10 update rumors, including new interface and app features that haven’t been pushed out to your iPhone 6S and iPad Pro 12.9 as part of iOS 9.3.
Apple is preparing the redesigned iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, according to the latest leaks, and that means the interface may take on a few surprises. Here’s what we’ve heard in the news.
iOS 10 release date
Apple is testing iOS 10 right now, meaning it’s on track for another June release date at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference event, WWDC 2016.
Siri let us know that the keynote date is Monday, June 13. That’s when official iOS 10 announcement will happen with an introduction by Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.
The iOS 10 beta should be available to developers immediately, while a public beta is likely to launch in July, just as it did with iOS 9. After all, last year’s public beta was a big success for Apple judging from the smoother sailing of iOS 9, and it continues to be a surprise with new iOS 9.3 features.
If you decide to wait for the final version of iOS 10, it’ll take a while longer due to additional bug testing by developers and faithful Apple fans trying out the beta. A stable version of iOS 10 should launch alongside the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in September.
iOS 10 beta
The iOS 10 beta should be back given the initial rousing success of the iOS 9 beta to squash software glitches. That means you can anticipate three ways to download the operating system update once iOS 10 becomes available.
Apple Developer Program members will be the first to install iOS 10, likely in mid-June. That requires enrolling in the official developer program and paying a fee of $100 (about £69, AU$140).
Since everyone wants everything for free these days, you can wait a few weeks, typically in July, to test out iOS 10 early via the public beta. It requires jumping through some hoops on Apple’s website, but registration takes no more than a few minutes of your time.
The iOS 9 beta program was more unfinished than it was buggy. I counted just a few missing features, not glitches, so it wasn’t a hassle to download a year ago. And it was free and an over-the-air update, so it’s a friendly middle ground if you want to try iOS 10 before almost most everyone else.
iOS 10 compatibility
Amazingly, iOS 9 didn’t cut anyone out of the mix when the update rolled out to devices in September. The iPhone 4S and iPad 2 still work with the latest operating system update.
That may not happen again given the simple fact that iOS 10 may require more than 512MB of RAM.
We really thought both of these devices would be axed when the iOS 9 update became available. Because these Apple gadgets are going to be five years old by the time iOS 10 comes out, we think it’s time to put the still-clinging-to-life 30-pin dock-equipped phone and tablet to rest.
Expect the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, and the bigger iPhone 6S Plus and iPhone 6 Plus to handle iOS 10 without a hitch. Add the newer iPhone SE to the phone roster, too.
Same goes for the iPad Pro 9.7 and 12.9, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2 and maybe even the original iPad mini. Also, not to be forgotten, the iPod Touch 6th gen should be fine.
Siri and voicemails
When it comes to iOS 10 features, we fully expect Apple to improve Siri simply because this happens every year. This time, Siri may become your true personal assistant by handling your voicemails.
The became the first big iOS 10 rumor: Siri can tell a caller why you can’t pick up the phone and even transcribe voicemail messages so you can read them on the go or in loud venues.
The Siri voicemail service is reportedly part of something called iCloud Voicemail, and it’s supposed to be an enhancement of the standard digital audio recorder.
Apple isn’t launching a mobile network of its own like Google’s Project Fi, at least not yet. However, this feature, if it’s a part of iOS 10, means that the company is one step closer to doing just that.
Siri third-party apps
That’s not everything we may see from Siri. Apple’s personal assistant for iOS users is likely to become entrenched in your home as a competitor to Amazon Echo and forthcoming Google Home speakers.
To do this, however, the normally-closed-off company needs to open up Siri so that more third-party apps will be able to use the capabilities. Amazon’s Alexa assistant can easily call up an Uber, for example.
The latest rumors indicate that there’s a Siri SDK that will debut at Apple’s WWDC keynote on June 13, and there’s a chance it could come with new speaker hardware (though that’s less certain).
That’s certainly going to impact iOS 10, as an enhanced Siri used by third-party apps will jumpstart the amount of things Apple users can do after saying "Hey Siri."
Peer-to-peer Apple Pay payments
Apple Pay is continuing to expand to new countries, but what’s missing from your iPhone’s digital wallet is the ability to directly send people payments. So far it’s just between you and an NFC cash registers.
You can’t treat Apple Pay as if it were PayPal just yet, but that may change with the new iOS 10 update, according to the longest-running rumors about the operating system.
Apple is said to be challenging the popular Venmo mobile payments app with the same ability: to send money between iOS devices. You may have to pay your Android friends back with real money, though.
That’s still good news for iOS users who want Apple Pay to become more useful. Samsung Pay is poised to encroach on the Cupertino company’s territory, and new features is the best way counteract that.
Your home is about to become smarter thanks to all of your household tech coming together to live under one roof: your iOS 10 device.
Apple’s Home app will transform for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV into remotes for smart bulbs, door locks, thermostats, door bells and all sorts of gadgets that fall into the Internet of Things classification.
Right now, this smart home technology is extremely scattered. It’s going to take a company like Apple to bring it together.
You may recall that the developer-focused HomeKit is a year-and-a-half old, but iOS 10 is expected to make it into a front-facing feature for users with a new Apple Home app.
Apple Music redesign
Apple Music will celebrate its one-year anniversary at WWDC 2016 with a sudden aging-rockstar facelift. Yes, the new streaming service is already in for a retooling of its user interface.
It’s no surprise. There’s a confusing rift between Apple Music streaming and iTunes music downloading, and that clunky design was cited as the main issue in our review.
Just don’t anticipate Apple Music Connect to play a prominent role. The underutilized tab, meant to let artists share photos, videos and demo tracks with fans, didn’t live up to its "connect" label, is in for a demotion.
Make 3D touch relevant
3D Touch made its debut with the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, and at first it was a little underwhelming. More apps now use it, but it could still stand to have a better reason to exist.
Control Center is exactly where this Force Touch-like technology should head next. Pressing the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on-screen button should pop up the respective settings menus in a overlay window.
Apple has done such a good job over the years by sliding opaque menus into view without requiring you to exit apps. These Control Center buttons should follow the very same principle.
There are also rumors that Apple may get rid of the home button with an on-screen button (sort of like on some Androids) that uses 3D Touch. It’s not a popular theory among all, but it may happen one day.
Customizable Control Center
While 3D Touch would go nicely with Control Center, it’d also be clever to have the entire menu overlay become customizable. Right now, everything’s set in stone by Apple.
Instead of forcing everyone to have the Clock icon be a shortcut to the time, why can’t I make that go to the stopwatch? Why can’t the calculator icon be swapped out for a Photos shortcut?
These are some of the requests we’ve been hearing from Apple users since Control Center made its debut in iOS 7 back in 2013. It’s about time Apple put them into action.
Apple News in the forefront
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with Apple News. The Flipboard-like app works well and has some of my favorite publications, but the app is too far removed. I hardly ever tap into it.
A better move would be to expand its presence in the leftmost menu. Yes, this is something that Samsung has done with its phone and tablets with Flipboard, but I’ve come to appreciate it.
Otherwise, tucking the entire Apple News interface into its own app silos it from the rest of the operating system without the pizzaz it really deserves.
There’s nothing more annoying than turning down the volume, tapping on a YouTube video during the middle of the night and hearing it still blare out my iPhone’s mono speaker.
Media controls are different from notification controls, it turns out, and there’s no easy way to turn down the volume on a video without starting it up first. That’s annoying.
Many Android phone manufacturers have cleverly split up the volume control into two or three groups, and it doesn’t look messy with a dropdown for more options beyond the main volume.
With iOS 10, Apple needs to catch up with the times on volume controls, as the iPhone and iPad rocker doesn’t exactly rock with limited and often confusing options.
Cache and orientation bugs
There are bugs and limitations to the iPhone and iPad that could be resolved with the iOS 10 update. Namely, caching and orientation flaws trip me up on a daily basis.
I’d like to be able to minimize an app without having it reset (read: Instagram) when I open it back up later on after having opened a couple of other apps in the interm. Memory seems to be the issue.
I’d also like iOS 10 to address the flaw in which screen orientation flips too easily into landscape mode when unlocking the phone. It seems to be a bigger problem on my iPhone 6S. Its size is already unwieldy enough, and oddly, this doesn’t happen on the smaller iPhone 6.
Apple did a really nice job upgrading iOS 9 for its iPad line. Split Screen multitasking and better Bluetooth keyboard support made a big difference.
However, Apple still hasn’t given its fanbase multi-user support. This is something that Android tablets have had for a while and it’s sorely missing on Apple devices. iOS 10 could be the time to do it.
In fact, the infrastructure for multi-user login support has launched ahead of iOS 10. It turns out that iOS 9.3 includes new education features for multiple student-logins for classrooms. That’s a good sign.
Given that iPad Pro just came out in the last few months, and it’s way more than a personal device, a lot of businesses and artist-filled studios might buy into the supersized idea if this could happen.
Apple did introduce multi-user support for students in iOS 9.3 thanks to a new set of education features. It could easily expand the idea with iOS 10 at WWDC.
iOS 10 Touch ID
Touch ID works really well. It’s faster than ever on the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, and it’s really accurate. Maybe not as fast at the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, but is it still too quick for its own good?
That’s what I’ve been hearing from users of Apple’s new smartphones. They habitually light up their phones with the home button, only to have their notifications vanish.
iOS 9 made notifications easier to view in the pulldown menu by sorting them in chronological order (not by group), but an easier way to wake the phone may be in order.
LG and HTC use an ingenious double tap the screen to wake method that makes the entire display a big button. That would solve this problem for Apple, and we’re looking for hints of that in iOS 10 in advance of the iPhone 7 launch.
More iOS 10 updates to come
This isn’t the last word on the iOS 10 update. Apple’s still until Monday to unveil the software, and three months after that to finalize everything. What we’ve heard so far is just rumors.
That gives us a little more time to hunt down official news and slightly less official leaks about the iPhone and iPad mobile operating system update.
The iOS 10 release date seems like the easy part: likely June 13 for the developer beta, July for the public beta and September with the iPhone 7 for the final launch.
iOS 10 features, on the other hand, remain a mystery with the exception of the solid-sounding Siri voicemail lead. There’s definitely more to come ahead of Monday’s WWDC 2016 at 10:00am Pacific time.
- Top competitor: Google’s Android N update
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