iOS 10: Apple's "biggest release ever" for iOS at WWDC 2016

Effectively every major area of iOS is now open to developers, including Messages, Maps and the voice-activated assistant Siri.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

(Image: CNET/CBS Interactive)

Apple rolled out its "biggest release ever" for its mobile operating system at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on Monday, with 10 new features for iOS 10.

Effectively "every major area of iOS is now open to developers," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, including Messages, Maps and the voice-activated assistant Siri.

Siri already receives more than 2 billion requests a week from customers, Federighi said. With the Siri SDK, customers are "going to be able to do so much more," he said.

Apple's latest announcements come after a year of challenges for the tech giant -- earlier this year, the company posted a decline in quarterly revenue for the first time in more than a decade, while its launch of the Apple Watch received a mixed response. And while iPhone sales account for the bulk of Apple's revenue, the overall smartphone market has fallen into a slump.

Apple WWDC 2016: See what developers see

Some analysts have suggested the iPhone 7 could perform decently, given that consumers largely passed on the 6s and are now ready for an upgrade. However, the chairman of Apple's major supplier Foxconn has reportedly told his staff that demand for iPhones will remain feeble until early next year.

  • Federighi on Monday also introduced a new user experience for iOS 10, featuring a new lock screen and home screen experience. It enables quick interaction with apps and expanded use of 3D touch. The new version includes a "raise to wake" feature that allows a user to wake up his phone just by lifting it up.
  • Next, Federighi announced that Apple is bringing Siri intelligence to the iOS keyboard. Deep learning will enable much more intelligence in longer context, he said. The keyboard also supports multi-lingual typing.
  • Photos, meanwhile, is also getting smarter with facial recognition. Apple is also applying deep learning to object and scene recognition. The app performs 11 billion computations per photo, Federighi said.
  • Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of internet software and services, introduced a revamp version of Apple News, with an all new design that includes stories in the "for you" section broken up into sections, such as "trending," "top stories" or "topics." Apple is also introducing subscriptions, with partners such as National Geographic magazine and the Wall Street Journal. The new Apple News also includes breaking news notifications.
  • Federighi introduced a new app for HomeKit called "Home." When the app is launched, it shows a user's personalized wall paper and their accessories.

"Essentially every major maker of home accessories have announced support for HomeKit," Federighi said. "Home makers are getting board as well," with HomeKit built right into residences.

The app allows users to easily manipulate their home devices, like lights and thermostats. With the "scenes" function, users can change multiple devices at once -- for instance, a "goodnight" scene could alter all devices to the appropriate nighttime settings. The app is built right into the control center for easy access.

  • An updated version of Apple Maps does "more for you in advance," said Cue, such as proactively suggesting alternate routes or suggestions for where you might want to go. The navigation interface is sleeker and provides more traffic information. The updated version will be available on CarPlay, and Maps will be open to third-party developers. A user, for instance, should be able to search for a restaurant using OpenTable and then book a ride there with Uber.
  • Apple Music, meanwhile, has been redesigned from the "ground up," Cue said. The app has new tabs that are easier to use, and it displays lyrics for songs and a daily curated playlist in the "for you" tab. Cue noted that the service now has 15 million paying subscribers.
  • For the Phone app, Apple is introducing voicemail transcription, as well as a phone spam detection function.
  • The Message app has also been revamped, with rich links and "invisible ink" that reveals a message once you slide your finger across a bubble. The new app will suggest emojis to add and highlight words that could be turned into emojis. It also supports handwritten messages. Third-party developers can build apps to use inside of the Messages, and users will have an "app drawer" of apps they want to use in it.

The conference keynote on Monday included updates for all four of Apple's operating systems; in addition to the iOS, that includes OS X, watch OS and tv OS.

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