Not that long ago I outlined a handy dandy list of items in iOS 10 that I thought I would love, new functions which would help to set iPhone apart from the plastic riffraff infecting the Android world.
Instead, after a few days of running iOS 10 through the wringer, and salivating over the much anticipated iPhone 7 Plus which should show up sometime Friday, I’ve come to the conclusion that Apple is building yet another user platform of enormous numbers, and OMG is it Gawd Awful Gaudy.
The Narcissist Generation
My overview of iOS on Monday highlighted the basics of iOS 10, thanks to a few weeks of relative hands-on thanks to Apple’s new Preview beta program. I highlighted some of the usual and unusual suspects.
Stickers, Lockscreen, and Siri for the former, and Maps, VoIP, and Raise To Wake for the latter.
What caught my attention more than any other new functionality was the elegant Jet Black color and the dual camera system of iPhone 7 Plus. And stickers in Messages. Once I added more animated Stickers to Messages I came to realize just how cluttered and crass a platform could become almost overnight.
Cluttered? Messages? Crass? Messages? Cluttered? Yep. You betcha!
Yes, you can still type in a text message and send it with a quick touch to the new Send arrow, but the number of new options– eye candy all– dropped onto Messages indicates Apple consider the app more of a platform opportunity than a mere conveniently to use texting app for the 1-billion iOS customers who use (alright, I didn’t do a count, but a billion probably is close and a nice round number).
Messages now has new features and functions, new buttons, and options to add effects to messages, animated stickers to messages, even apps can be added, or rather integrated much the way the Sharing pane works with extensions. Instead of going to a separate app and sending a text message, you can stay inside Messages and use functionality from the other app.
Tap on the App Store icon and scroll through all the animated and branded eye candy awaiting your, well, eyes.
Almost overnight, Messages has become a platform unto itself. Apple can make money on Messages apps and Stickers and close integration with other apps sure won’t hurt. There’s emoji, yes, but also a handwriting option (works on Watch, too), and Digital Touch to send drawings, taps, hearts, and other goofy things to someone who will be in complete awe of your iPhone prowess (for about seven minutes).
Effects are the new emoji, so, like emoji, you’re going to get bored. Worse, your Messages thread quickly degenerates into a mass of animated images and strange characters instead of just the blue box, gray box, or green box of days gone by. Yes, some of this is fun. But it’s new and fun. Next week it will be old and not as much fun, quickly becoming more screen clutter in the guise of personal communication.
That Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy collection is pretty cool, though.