Some of my favorite operating system updates are ones that rethink longstanding parts of the user interface in intelligent ways, and iOS 10 seems to be shaping up into that kind of update. The lock screen has been newly modeled around TouchID, which was brand-new three years ago but practically omnipresent in iDevices today. The Today View has been broken up into a bunch of configurable widgets and merged with the Siri suggestions screen. Notifications are more versatile and pleasant to interact with. And Messages’ improvements, while they won’t be to everyone’s taste, bring Apple’s built-in app more in line with the current zeitgeist as represented by Slack or Facebook Messenger.
There are more new features in iOS 10 – improvements to core apps like Photos, Music, and Health, tweaks to how the keyboard works, Apple Pay on the web, and a bunch of other minor changes – that we’ll have more time to look at in our final review. But so far the majority of the changes are for the better. Old hardware is getting dropped, but that frees developers from worrying about actively supported devices with 512MB of RAM. The iPad isn’t getting nearly the amount of love that it got from iOS 9, but in recent years Apple has been happy to dole out feature updates throughout the year in large point releases like it did in iOS 9.3. If performance on older devices and battery life are both up to snuff in the final release, most of my complaints will end up being pretty minor.
Ars’ iOS preview – always worth a read to know what’s up with the new release.