The momentum of the mobile space has changed in the past year. As the market for high end smartphones approaches saturation, the focus on the software side has moved from massive feature expansions to refinement and optimization. We saw great examples of this with both iOS and Android over 2014 and 2015. Whereas iOS 8 and Android Lollipop were heavy with feature releases, iOS 9 and Android Marshmallow were much lighter. Following up to a large feature release provided both teams a good time to reflect upon their development directions and a focus on improving the user experience.

2016 marks a very special year for iOS. After launching as iPhone OS back in 2007, iOS has gone through many iterations and a name change, and has now arrived at version 10. Although version numbers are somewhat arbitrary – Apple has been on macOS 10 for sixteen years now – the tenth major release for an operating system is still an important and exciting milestone. It means that a platform has withstood the test of time, and ideally has had ample opportunity to mature. At the same time however, because it’s a milestone, it’s a reflection on both the past and the future; what has come before, and what is yet to come. For Apple and its eager customer base, iOS 10 embodies this well: the company is in a position where they need to deliver a substantial update, if for no other reason than to satisfy expectations.

With iOS 10 it's difficult to describe what Apple has focused on. It's really one of those OS releases that makes changes to every part of the system. There are big design changes, and big app changes, plus new features and APIs so developers can make even better applications. On top of all that there are performance improvements to bring back the smoothness to areas where it was lost during Apple's rapid redesign and feature boosts in iOS 7 and 8. 

With feature-rich releases it can often be difficult to decide where to start the discussion. To keep in line with my previous iOS reviews I'll start off with a look at what changes Apple has made to the iOS UI before moving on to feature changes at the app level and then finishing with changes at the developer level. Without any further delay, lets dive into the new refined design of iOS 10.

Refining The Design of iOS
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  • Devo2007 - Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - link

    On page 2 when talking about Control Center, you got the iOS version numbers mixed up. You reference iOS 7,8,9 when I'm guessing it should be 8, 9, 10 (was Control Center in iOS 7?) Reply
  • Devo2007 - Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - link

    Ok, Control Center was in iOS 7. I just got my first iOS device last week. The middle screenshot looks like iOS 9 though, so the text is still a bit confusing Reply
  • Brandon Chester - Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - link

    They're in order on my browser at least. The left is iOS 7, with borders around icons, the middle is iOS 8 where they use a different UIVisualEffectView, and the right is iOS 9 where it's a floating card. Reply
  • Devo2007 - Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - link

    The floating card one on the right is iOS 10 - not 9.

    "
    In iOS 9, the buttons are now even more distinct, with an ExtraLight VisualEffectView being used for the background and the buttons using something closer to the Light VisualEffectView setting. It's now much more obvious when buttons are selected as well, with the fill color being blue and the inner glyph changing from black to white."

    ^That description seems to apply to the Control Center in iOS 10 - not 9. This is the only part that seems to be in error; I'm guessing the actual look of control center didn't change much from iOS 8 to iOS 9.
    Reply
  • Brandon Chester - Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - link

    Somehow I made the same typo in my comment as I did in the article. Yes, it's iOS 10 on the right, and I've fixed the typo. Sorry for being so confusing. Reply
  • pencea - Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - link

    Funny thing is whenever it comes to anything related to Apple, Anandtech reviews comes out in a timeline manner.

    While anything else such Samsung phones, graphics cards..etc reviews are always late.
    Reply
  • Donkey2008 - Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - link

    So maybe you should go start your own website instead of crying about how unfair the internet is. Boo hoo. Reply
  • pencea - Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - link

    You obviously have reading comprehension issues. I specifically said "Anandtech" not the internet.
    Boo hoo
    Reply
  • Donkey2008 - Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - link

    If they are so biased toward Apple then why do you bother coming here? It's like someone who goes into McDonalds to complain that fast food sucks. Do you need attention like an infant? Reply
  • fanofanand - Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - link

    Nice job Donkey, your check from Apple is in the mail. Reply

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