Apple Releases iOS 10 Just Before iPhone 7 Arrives

The improved iOS 10 mobile operating system includes major updates to Messaging, added Siri features and many redesigned apps.

Apple, iOS 10, iOS 9, operating system, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, WWDC 2016, messaging, Apple Photos, Apple Music

Apple's iOS 10 operating system has arrived for iPhone, iPad and iPod users, bringing a wide array of new features and app improvements that will give users added functions and capabilities with their devices.

The new mobile OS was released for download by users on Sept. 13, just three days before Apple is slated to begin selling its latest iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus smartphones. The iOS 10 operating system, which will be pushed out to user devices by Apple, comes a year after the company introduced iOS 9 to users.

Highlighting the latest version is a major update for iOS Messaging, which now gives users more expressive and animated ways to message friends and family, and wider capabilities for Siri to work and interact with various apps. Also included are new capabilities to use 3D Touch as well as many redesigned and improved apps, such as Maps, Photos, Apple Music and News apps. In addition, the latest iOS 10 version provides new capabilities for developers who want to expand their work with apps such as Siri, Maps, Phone and Messages through their updated APIs, according to Apple.

The updated Messaging app now lets users send messages in their own handwriting, which will appear for recipients in an animated form on their iPhones, like it is being written on paper. Plus, users will be able to send messages that include animated on-screen banners, such as "Happy Birthday!" or "Congratulations!" Also featured in Messaging is a new invisible ink feature that lets users send a message invisibly to a recipient who will be able to reveal the message. In addition, other features, including quick reply "tap-backs" and the ability to send graphics such as fireballs, heartbeats, sketches and more, are available to users, who will also be able to draw on videos, attach "stickers" and jazz up their messages in other ways.

Apple users will also now be able to access other apps to create and share content, make payments or perform other tasks without having to leave the Messages app.

Siri also gains the ability to work directly with other apps so that users can use voice commands to get a ride or send money to another person without having to type in the requests.

Upgrades to the Maps app, meanwhile, include the ability to now book a restaurant reservation (pictured) through OpenTable or other sites from within the Maps app. The app can also now give users proactive suggestions for where to go and recommend the fastest routes, as well as deeper information and search for finding the closest places for gas, food or coffee as you travel.

A new Home app in iOS 10 lets users turn on lights, unlock doors, and raise or lower electronic window shades all from their smartphone or tablet.

In addition, Apple's latest Apple Music app is included in iOS 10, with a redesigned and more intuitive layout that makes it easier to use and find your favorite music. Users can also now view song lyrics while they are listening to them.

Other new iOS 10 capabilities include quicker device wake-up by simply picking up your iPhone, which will be preloaded with your latest notifications. Users will also be able to view photos and videos or respond to a message right from their notifications.

The updated and redesigned Photos app now makes it easier and faster for users to find specific photos, while also gaining capabilities to make movies out of a user's photos.

The iOS 10 software is compatible with the latest iPhone 7 devices through the iPhone 5, as well as iPad models including the 12.9-inch and 9.7-inch iPad Pros, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad 4th generation, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3 and iPad mini 2. Also compatible is the iPod touch 6th generation.

In June, Apple announced the upcoming iOS 10 and macOS Sierra operating systems at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The beta version of iOS 10 was released in July.