Apple WWDC 2016: iMessage receives huge upgrade with iOS 10, as it looks to take on Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook

New features for the previously relatively conservative chat app include ‘disappearing ink’ and huge emoji

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 14 June 2016 13:35
Comments
Introducing iOS 10

Apple’s messaging app is getting a huge upgrade to take on its competitors in the upcoming chat wars.

iMessage will receive new features including disappearing ink messages and fireworks that take up the full screen. Its messaging app had previously been relatively conservative – avoiding the kinds of fun features that are found in apps like Snapchat.

But the new features rely heavily on emoji and visual effects, and appear to be aimed at making the app take on tools like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, as well as Snapchat.

Users will be able to replace words with emoji in a single tap, and send handwritten notes, while special "invisible ink" messages will appear when the screen is swiped, and animations can be added to a conversation that fill the entire screen.

The app has also been opened to developers for the first time so it can be used to complete financial transactions and other tasks. People will be able to send money through a message, for example – though only through external apps rather than Apple Pay, as some had expected.

The announcement came as part of Apple’s WWDC presentation – the annual event where it shows off upgrades to its operating systems and software.

As part of the update to Apple's desktop computer software, OS X was renamed macOS, with this year's version named Sierra after the mountain range that spans California and Nevada.

Siri, Apple's voice-based virtual assistant, has been added to the Mac for the first time, as has the ability to pay using Apple Pay. An option to use the payment service will appear on websites, with confirmation requests sent to a user's phone, where they can use their fingerprint to authorise them.

Mac users will also be able to use their Apple Watch to unlock a Mac when in close proximity to their laptop.

Apple Music, the subscription-based streaming service launched at WWDC last year, was also given a redesign after many reported the app to be too confusing to use. A user's existing music library has been pushed to the front of the app, with more playlist suggestions being offered by Apple.

All the updates showcased are being made available to developers this week, ahead of free upgrades for all Apple customers in the autumn.

Mr Cook took time out at the beginning of the presentation to pay tribute to the victims of the Orlando shootings, telling the auditorium that Apple offered its "deepest condolences to everyone whose lives were touched by the violence", before leading a moment's silence in tribute.

Additional reporting by agencies

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in