iPhone and IOS
Jun 16, 2016 — TrackFive

Game of Phones: iOS 10 and the New Tech War

Unless you have been living in a cave for the past week, you know that Apple held its World Wide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. You also know that at the event they announced that on iOS 10, iPhone users will finally be able to delete those stock apps.

As a dedicated iPhone user (I get nostalgic thinking about my first little 8GB iPhone 3G), that feature alone would have made me very happy.

Siri might have been the star of the show for developers, but the new iOS 10 features are what most iOS device users are excitedly whispering about; especially the iMessage party that Android users are still not invited to.

Preparing for War

While the new features might allow #TeamiPhone to fire back in the Apple vs. Android meme battle, those of us in the tech industry see what Apple has really done: started a mobile messaging tech war.

After seeing sales significantly decrease in the first quarter of the year while Samsung saw successful numbers from their Galaxy smartphone line during the same period, Apple is ready for a comeback. By using all the best features from various social media apps in iOS 10, Apple has attempted to create what may later be called the first “complete” mobile messaging app.

In order to compete with the likes of WeChat and Facebook Messenger, Apple has taken a small slice from everyone else’s tech pies to create a mobile messaging app juggernaut.

iOS 10 and iMessage 2.0

Over the years, Apple has made slight updates to the Messages app, but I don’t believe the app has ever seen the overhaul it is getting with iOS 10. Apple’s upgrades are going to create a fun, easier, and more useful communication environment.

While we all love our interactions on social media, it is the private messages that really bring it all full circle. We love to be able to easily respond or react to content. We love finding something on the web and sending a link to the group chat.

Now Apple is attempting to help us thoroughly enjoy these private moments by making the way we communicate easier. Let’s look a few of the new features for Messages in iOS 10 and determine where Apple might have borrowed them from.

Rich links and Bubble Effects

Now when you send the link to that hilarious video you found online, your friends can see it play right in the message, without leaving the app. When you find that interesting article you want to send to coworkers, they will see a featured image and blog title.

These features are similar to Twitter and Facebook, allowing videos to play in-stream. We’ve seen many messaging apps display blog titles with featured images in other apps too including Skype and Slack.

Who says you can’t tell tone from text messages? You can now respond to text messages with bubble effects, which will display your text with a little bit of animation. Now your friends know when you’re yelling or whispering.

This might be a bit of a stretch, but the text animation reminds me of the emoticon animation on Skype (though I can’t imagine Apple would loop text animation).

Celebrate good times, c’mon!

Apple took a page out of Twitter’s book for this next feature: Celebration effects. Now when you are wishing one of your friends a happy birthday, you can both experience the celebration with balloons on screen.

Heavy Twitter users know that since July of last year, the site has helped to celebrate birthdays by providing balloons on the user’s special day (only if you choose to share your birth date, of course).

Though a full list of sayings is not yet available, you can be sure to be able to celebrate holidays, say congrats, and more.

Emojis, Stickers, and an iMessage App Store? Oh, my.

When Apple introduced emojis, it was a game-changer in the messaging tech industry. Everyone loves emojis. If you don’t believe that people love emojis, then why is Twitter now going to allow advertisers to target users by the emojis they tweet?

Apple didn’t invent the emoji, but they were the first to use them. Since then we have seen emojis spread not only to other smartphones, but also to social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Apple didn’t announce that they would be adding any new emojis this time around (thanks for the unicorn… still waiting on that giraffe?). But they might have borrowed an idea from SwiftKey that will make your emoji experience better.

Not only did Apple announce that emojis will be three times bigger, but Apple will also highlight words that can be ’emojified’ (that’s a word now).

As I said before, Apple didn’t talk about adding new emojis, but they did talk about adding stickers. You will be able to add them to bubbles, photos, or even on another sticker. Apple probably got the idea from the Snapchat update that allows stickers to be placed on photos. These will be available in the iMessage app store.

Oh, what’s that? I didn’t mention the iMessage App Store? Well with iOS 10, developers will be able to create apps for the Messages app. This will make it easier to do various things like share content and make payments without having to exit the app.

Declaring War

We only looked at a few of the new iOS 10 messaging features, but already you can see how Apple is positioning themselves to be the leader in messaging communication. While Apple might not have shown us anything that hasn’t been done before, think of it as a renovation rather than innovation.

How do I know that Apple is declaring war? Because Apple is experiencing a decline in device sales and loss of smartphone market share, and most telling, iMessage will still be unavailable to Android users. If Apple can create the best mobile messaging experience, perhaps they can also convince users to make the switch to #TeamiPhone.

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