Here’s the quick read. There’s nothing to not like about macOS Sierra. Siri is great and actually does things that are useful. What about iOS 10? OK, that’s a mixed bag. There’s much to like and seemingly something for everyone, especially if you love animation in your text messages. One new feature in iOS bothers me.
The Convenience Store
Personally, I think Apple is having a hard time mastering notifications. Alerts, alarms, and pop ups are fine, but the lockscreen in iOS 10 gets a major makeover and some of what I see so far isn’t something I like.
The lockscreen on iPhone in iOS 9 displays instantly some basic notification info in a long, scrollable, pull-down, push-up window. Mail, Messages, Reminders, plenty of third party notifications but not much else, and it’s all nice and tidy Not exciting. But tidy. In iOS 10 it’s as if Apple has become addicted to oversized things swimming all over the lockscreen.
There are two issues here that bother me the most.
The first is just the screen clutter. Sure, you can control some of that in settings, but the idea shouldn’t be to cram as many items as possible into iOS 10’s lockscreen– everything is bigger. Much bigger.
The second is the security issue. The lockscreen displays information that is visible to everyone who has access to your iPhone (or iPad; works the same way). With iOS 9, there’s not much to see. With iOS 10 there’s much more to see and some of it may not be what you want others to see, but you do want to see it. Right now, there’s no way to manage that gap. What you can see is what anyone else can see by merely tapping the Home button or the power button.
Apple seems to be at conflict with itself in iOS 10. There’s more security. iPhones are locked down tight compared to many Android devices which will never see the light of day for an upgrade to a more secure version. Yet, the new lockscreen system opens users up to more information being easily visible without unlocking the iPhone.
Security and convenience don’t always work well together.
Touch ID works a bit differently in iOS 10, too. In iOS 9, iPhone users need merely to tap the Home button with the appropriate finger and that opens up the launch pad of apps. In iOS 10, Touch ID can unlock the iPhone but still leaves you on the lockscreen. An extra tap is required to jump to the app launch pad.
3D Touch. Apple’s engineers have refined 3D Touch so it works well, and opened it up to third party app developers, so there are more options with the lockscreen and with apps. Touch and press and get more options. It’s not that such an option is confusing or unintuitive. The problem is knowing what to touch and when to invoke 3D Touch.
Hot on the heels of the cluttered lockscreen and the hidden 3D Touch options is all the lockscreen clutter. iOS 9 everything is displayed in a simple list. In iOS 10 notifications and widgets clutter the screen entirely with big floating buttons and windows but tiny text. It’s obvious that Jonny Ive is nearsighted.
Apple is going all in on horizontal swiping to reveal more settings and options. Maybe that’s just how the future is. Vertical swiping works, so does horizontal swiping, but both at the same time can add a measure of confusion because it’s not always clear where a swipe should be invoked. Buttons on the lockscreen– including notifications and control center– are big and fat, whereas elsewhere they’re normal. Maybe that helps to differentiate the lockscreen from everything else. To me it comes with an odd feel.
Overall, though, and except for the lockscreen mess, I like what I see. iOS 10 worked well for me on a nearly three year old iPhone 5s. I had a problem getting AirPlay to work in anything other than Mirror mode, but that’s a minor nit. After all, iOS 10 is a beta, so we can expect some tweaks and changes before release by autumn.