The momentum of the mobile space has changed in the past year. As the market for high end smartphones approaches saturation, the focus on the software side has moved from massive feature expansions to refinement and optimization. We saw great examples of this with both iOS and Android over 2014 and 2015. Whereas iOS 8 and Android Lollipop were heavy with feature releases, iOS 9 and Android Marshmallow were much lighter. Following up to a large feature release provided both teams a good time to reflect upon their development directions and a focus on improving the user experience.

2016 marks a very special year for iOS. After launching as iPhone OS back in 2007, iOS has gone through many iterations and a name change, and has now arrived at version 10. Although version numbers are somewhat arbitrary – Apple has been on macOS 10 for sixteen years now – the tenth major release for an operating system is still an important and exciting milestone. It means that a platform has withstood the test of time, and ideally has had ample opportunity to mature. At the same time however, because it’s a milestone, it’s a reflection on both the past and the future; what has come before, and what is yet to come. For Apple and its eager customer base, iOS 10 embodies this well: the company is in a position where they need to deliver a substantial update, if for no other reason than to satisfy expectations.

With iOS 10 it's difficult to describe what Apple has focused on. It's really one of those OS releases that makes changes to every part of the system. There are big design changes, and big app changes, plus new features and APIs so developers can make even better applications. On top of all that there are performance improvements to bring back the smoothness to areas where it was lost during Apple's rapid redesign and feature boosts in iOS 7 and 8. 

With feature-rich releases it can often be difficult to decide where to start the discussion. To keep in line with my previous iOS reviews I'll start off with a look at what changes Apple has made to the iOS UI before moving on to feature changes at the app level and then finishing with changes at the developer level. Without any further delay, lets dive into the new refined design of iOS 10.

Refining The Design of iOS
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  • Agent Smith - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    What's the release date?
  • tipoo - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

  • tipoo - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    Interesting about scrolling performance, I wasn't sure if I was imagining it wasn't all it used to be. Great that Apple admitted and addressed it.
  • sonicmerlin - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    Exactly. I thought I had noticed a tiny bit of judder while scrolling in safari on my 6S.

    I'm really glad to see Apple noticed this and put a lot of effort into fixing it. It may not seem like a big issue, but this is one of the biggest reasons I can't stand Android. The garbage collection hiccups and lack of pixel perfect smooth scrolling, especially while browsing heavy web pages or zooming in out and out of google maps, drives me nuts.
  • Ranger1065 - Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - link

    That has to be one of the most pathetic examples of 1st world problems I've read.
  • milli - Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - link

    Reminds me of many years ago when I had a Nokia N8. Its Symbian OS had much more features than what an iPhone had back then but ... the iPhone had smooth(-er) scrolling and looked prettier.
    We all know what happened. For humans: looks > usefulness
  • Brandon Chester - Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - link

    Performance is a feature.
  • close - Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - link

    @milli. Because 5000 years of history showed that humans look *ONLY* for objective characteristics in anything and the iPhone somehow managed to break the pattern.

    @Ranger1065. Whatever *YOU* want or like can be considered a first world problem by someone else, right down to the fact that you're here complaining about what other people want or like.
  • Ranger1065 - Thursday, September 15, 2016 - link

  • rangerdavid - Thursday, September 15, 2016 - link


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