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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  • hahmed330 - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    That Trump meme or hairless orange guy on page 4 is awesome!
  • mirancar - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    How about battery life across different iOS ? has it improved/degraded or is +/- same compared to ios 9 ?
  • lilmoe - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    I previously thought that the increase in battery life of the new models were a direct result of processor improvements. But they're probably more a direct result of the increase in battery capacity. If so, then you should expect slightly less battery life on iOS 10 for the older models.

    That being said, things might even out because it looks like they've improved their view rendering so that the processor doesn't need to work as often, but this might impact RAM management in which other parts would need to reload more often.

    But what do I know. I usually go to Anandtech to check out actual tests for these things... oh wait...
  • berga_d - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    "El Psy Congroo"
  • Nozuka - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    Best iOS 10 review i have seen so far. Learned alot of new things too. Thank you!
  • CMDMC12 - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link


    Apparently installing iOS 10 via the OTA is failing on a myriad of devices, causing them to need to be restored via iTunes. Apple is recommending at the moment to only install the update via iTunes.

    Also be sure to backup your device before attempting to update.
  • colonelclaw - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    Unfortunately it goes without saying these days that I never install an OS update on the day of release. Not for iOS, macOS, Windows, Android, my TV, my PVR, my NAS, my router etc etc (I probably forgot a bunch of devices)
    I lived with all of them up until now, it's no problem to wait a day or two for the inevitable bug fixes.
  • Notmyusualid - Thursday, September 15, 2016 - link

    @colonelclaw: Agreed. But not in every case. At one site, a Cisco router (enterprise grade, not consumer), running an old ios, and its HSRP partner is running the new v15 ios. The old ios router was constantly hacked, even with the strongest, most random password possible, and even with in-bound access lists bound to the VTY lines. It was really quite annoying. They were probing the network, and I could see the failed login attempts on other switches and even the Wireless Access Points. The v15 router stood up to the hack, the whole time.

    Sometimes updates are really useful...
  • Maltz - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    Apple says this has been fixed. Still, I never install major updates over-the-air. I always connect to iTunes for anything beyond a bug fix point release.
  • Donkey2008 - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    I did OTA upgrades to iOS 10 on both an iPhone 6 and an iPad Air at 11am PST this morning. Zero issues. Just sayin.

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