Apple likes to keep its operating system locked down to customization. However, the company recently announced that it will be granting access to more third party developers to expand the functionality and features that are included in the Messages app. They seem to have noticed the trend of tech companies investing in other messaging platforms, like Skype and Facebook Messenger, who are adding additional features, apps and bots directly into their messaging app. The end goal is to enable their users to complete more tasks within the single app, for example communicating with a co-worker about lunch plans and then paying directly without leaving the app.
In the Keynote that occurred in June of 2016, Apple announced its plan to amplify the creative and interactive aspect of the messages themselves. One of the new changes affects the beloved Emojis. The size of these graphics will now be three times larger, which makes them appear like stickers and much easier to see. Also related to Emojis, after you have typed your message you will be able to tap the Emoji button and any word that can be replaced with one of the many emojis will be highlighted and replaced with the graphic. This will cut down response time since users will no longer have to swipe through the many pages and multiple categories to find the applicable character.
A third update to Messages seem to have been inspired from the very popular app, Snapchat. Just like after a Snap is taken, Apple Messages will let you doodle on your photo or video. There will be new animated backgrounds, such as fireworks or confetti. Is this Apple’s attempt to takeover Snapchat? Obviously they want users to stay in the Messages app, but it may be difficult to get iPhone users to stop posting to their Snapchat story. Lastly, to add more emotion behind your text, Messages will let you make your text grow or shrink, with added animations.
Overall we are impressed with the new updates Apple will be releasing in the next update. Text messages already seem less personal than a phone call, but with the added drawing or animation, texts sent through Apple’s Messages might have a new level of emotion attached. We are interested in seeing what functionality third party developers add to Messages. It will probably clear out some of the apps on your iPhone and open up some much needed space.
If you would like to watch the entire Apple WWDC16 Keynote Address, click here. The features highlighted in this article can be found starting at the 86 minute mark.