10 Early Impressions of iOS 10's Features, Performance

10 Early Impressions of iOS 10's Features, Performance
The App Access Is Zippy
The Lock Screen Becomes Far More Useful
Design Tweaks Improve the User Experience
Email Updates Take Some Getting Used To
It's Great to Have the Option to Remove Bundled Apps
Apple Music Is a Step Up
The Home App Controller Is Handy
I Gain Little Value From iMessage Updates
Apple News App Is Getting Better
A Roundup of Hiccups
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10 Early Impressions of iOS 10's Features, Performance

Apple's iOS 10 delivers features aimed at enhancing the user experience as well as performance. Here are some first impressions of the newly released OS.

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The App Access Is Zippy

Apple promised that its apps would open more quickly in iOS 10, and it delivered. Whether it's the built-in apps or even third-party apps that have been optimized for iOS 10, they all load far more quickly than they did in iOS 9. Considering that I tested the operating system on a 2-year-old iPhone 6 Plus, I would expect even better performance on the new iPhone 7.

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The Lock Screen Becomes Far More Useful

The lock screen has finally become more than a place to see the latest notifications. In addition to displaying notifications from first- and third-party apps, it provides quick and easy access to events on the calendar, popular apps that I often access, news, weather and more.

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Design Tweaks Improve the User Experience

Although iOS 10 doesn't come with a major facelift, the new look and feel is quite nice. Notifications, for instance, come with a much better design that allows you to understand what's happening at a glance. Safari features subtle design improvements to more easily view content. The mobile operating system's virtual keyboard is more appealing now that it has better word suggestions. Altogether, it seems as though Apple made the right tweaks where necessary.

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Email Updates Take Some Getting Used To

I've had some trouble with Apple's Mail in iOS 10. While the design is familiar and you'll find a filter button to enable you to see only those messages that are unread, threaded emails take some getting used to. Threaded conversations now default to the latest email and show all of its text. It can be jarring for those of us who have grown accustomed to Apple's former design, which displayed all emails in a thread and required a user to click on one to read an individual message. While the new system takes a step out of reading emails, I've yet to get used to it. I'm not sure it's a big productivity saver since scrolling through emails can take some time.

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It's Great to Have the Option to Remove Bundled Apps

Apple has finally delivered the long-sought-after ability to remove applications bundled with iOS 10. Now, users can remove the pesky Watch app or get rid of Apple's Calendar, if they wish. Some apps, including Phone, Safari, Messages and the App Store, still cannot be deleted, but it's nice to see Apple now offers the option to remove apps that might seem less valuable to some users.

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Apple Music Is a Step Up

Apple Music's makeover is a major improvement. It's now much easier to access your library of songs, and the "For You" function that uncovers content you might like is smarter. Accessing your library of music is much faster than it had been, but during my time with the app, I found the Top 25 Most Played playlist kept causing the software to crash. Hopefully, it's just a minor glitch that can be fixed rather easily.

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The Home App Controller Is Handy

If you're not a smart home user, the Home app controller will be of little value to you. However, for those of us who have smart light bulbs and other smart home appliances, it's extremely useful. The app is well-designed, provides a single place to control my lighting and everything responds quickly. Home is arguably one of the best additions to iOS 10.

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I Gain Little Value From iMessage Updates

Apple's iOS 10 iMessage comes with a number of new features, including support for bigger text, stickers to enhance messages and much more. But as someone who doesn't live and die by emojis or the idea that more expression is needed in iMessage, it feels as though Apple spent too much time on the app. At its core, iMessage is still a nice messaging app, but all of the additions, such as stickers, handwriting support and animations, seem unnecessary and distracting to me.

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Apple News App Is Getting Better

In theory, I like the idea of Apple's News app, but in iOS 9, its design made it difficult to find appealing content. In iOS 10, Apple News not only has a better design, but it also appears to have better insight into what I like to read. That has resulted in a generally improved Apple News experience that makes finding content easier.

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A Roundup of Hiccups

While iOS 10 generally has been responsive, it's also suffered from odd glitches during my initial evaluation. For instance, some of its built-in apps are slow to respond. While that might be caused partly by the iPhone 6 Plus I'm running, one would hope Apple would have optimized the operating system for a 2-year-old smartphone. During my testing, the Phone app crashed a couple of times, Mail froze once and Safari failed on a few occasions for no apparent reason. It's worth repeating that Apple Music crashed several times when I tried to access the most-played tracks. Let's hope these kinks get worked out soon.

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