Last month, the third beta of iOS 10 was released by Apple. The update – for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch – featured several refinements and improvements, instead of wholesale new features per se. In particular, the focus seems to be on enhancing the existing Apple applications on devices. While iOS 10 beta 3 was seeded to general users over-the-air, professional iOS app developers were the first to receive it. The general consensus about iOS 10 beta 3 is positive enough, with the update having several interesting tweaks. Let us here take a quick glance at some of these:
- Haptic feedback for phone lock – On the upgraded iPhone, a subtle haptic feedback is generated when a user locks his/her iPhone. This serves as a simple way for people to know that their handsets have been secured. The haptic vibration is not to be confused with the notifications alerts of the phone. On iPod Touch and iPad, a sound will be generated as soon as the devices are locked. A nice little bit to take user-uncertainties away.
- Messages gets a typing indicator – In the latest iOS 10 beta, the Messages app seem to be a lot more efficient and easily usable than before. There is a custom typing indicator present, which would be primarily helpful while selecting GIF images from the image picker. In earlier betas, the picker used to crop photos while generating square previews – and that feature has been removed in this update. The extensions of the Messages app are also smoother.
- Changes in HomeKit – The changes made in the control panel of HomeKit in iOS 10 beta 3 have come in for praise from iPhone app developers and early testers. The settings now clearly indicate the handset(s) that are working as HomeKit hubs. This, in turn, makes it pretty much straightforward for a user to switch from one hub to another while on the go. The ‘Accessories’ tab is no longer truncated either.
- Better, more interactive Lock Screen – One of the most distinctive features of an iPhone is its ‘Slide To Unlock’ gesture on the lock screen. In the first beta of iOS 10 though, Apple experimented by replacing it with a requirement to press the Home button to unlock the devices (i.e. the Touch ID feature was implemented in the lock screen). This move was widely criticized by users and mobile app development experts alike. Apple responded by adding a ‘Rest Finger To Open’ option in ‘Accessibility’, in the second beta of iOS 10. In the latest beta, both the options (‘Rest Finger’ and ‘Press Home’) to unlock are present, messaging has been made possible directly from the home screen, and the notifications system has been made really interactive. The new notifications feature can be made use of by third-party Apple developers in their new applications too.
- Changes in Apple Music – This one is a repeat. ‘Downloads’ have been replaced by the ‘Downloaded Music’ label once again, much to the delight of many early adopters. Also, the feature has been made optional, and the bugs present in the earlier versions have been ironed out. With well over 12 million paying subscribers, Apple Music is already on solid grounds after a shaky start, and on iOS 10 devices, it should become even more popular.
- Return of the keyboard click – In the introductory beta version of iOS 10, a pop-click keyboard sound was introduced. It was withdrawn in the second beta, and has made a comeback in iOS 10 beta 3. The muted sound feature has been mostly liked by general users, and is likely to stay in the final release of the update.
- Augmented Reality Mode – For Pokemon Go fans, this is big news. Those who make custom software and mobile apps for the Apple platform have confirmed that the AR Mode works like a charm on the newest iOS 10 beta. The feature can be toggled on or off with ease, and it adds yet another dimension to the platform. There are odd reports of bugs in AR Mode on iOS 10 beta, but expect these issues to be resolved soon enough by the Cupertino company.
Note: According to gamers though, playing Pokemon Go is relatively easier when the AR Mode is turned off.
8. App support for Siri – Siri – the popular mobile digital assistant for iOS – will be coming with a fairly wide range of features and enhancements in iOS 10. In the 3rd beta of the platform, an all-new ‘App Support’ section has been added to Siri – in order to display which iPhone apps are compatible with it. This takes up the utility of Siri a notch higher on the new iOS iteration.
9. Enhancements in Health app – Wish to share your personal health data with Apple (i.e., the diagnostic information displayed by the built-in Health app)? The iOS 10 beta 3 update shows how this can be done. All that the users have to do is navigate to Settings → Privacy → Diagnostics and Usage, and activate the feature from there. The feature works reliably, and gives people a new option.
10. Downloads to iCloud Drive – This feature works with Mail, Photos, and the Safari browser as well. According to software developers and app makers, people can seamlessly add downloads to the iCloud Drive. The process is quick and completely secure. This tweak also makes the Photos app all the more usable, with risks of file loss being practically absent.
11. Third-party apps and 3D Touch – Yet another change worth a mention in the new iOS 10 beta update is related to how the 3D Touch feature works with external iOS applications. The feature now adds the name of the third-party application next to ‘Share’ (e.g., ‘Share Facebook’). Once again, this change is geared to improve the app-experience of users.
12. Text tags below Health videos – A minor change, but can prove to be a very handy one later. While the videos in the Apple Health app have been retained as placeholders, the new beta shows new text tag lines below each of these placeholders. The company clearly has plans to make both HomeKit and Health important and widely-used native iOS applications.
The clock in the Lock Screen gets pushed to the status bar, when the area below the time display is scrolled. In Apple Music, playlists are no longer ‘added to library’, but are ‘subscribed to’ by the users instead (this makes the functionality a bit similar to Spotify, its chief rival). During a search within the Music application, ‘Your Library’ gets displayed first – another convenient option.
The build number of iOS 10 beta 3 is 14A5309d, and it gives us a fairly clear indication of all the new features that the final release of iOS 10 will have. The platform will debut on iPhone 7 (or will it be called iPhone 6SE?) this fall. The third beta is easily more stable than its two predecessors, and all eyes are now on what further changes and improvements Apple makes to iOS 10, leading up to its final launch.
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