If you don’t plan to shell out the big bucks for a brand-new iPhone–the one that notoriously doesn’t have a headphone jack, by the way–you can still take advantage of a lot of the highly-touted new features with your very own download of iOS10, compatible with versions of the device dating back to the iPhone 5 or higher, along with a handful of iPad Minis and iPads.
But why you should take the plunge? At its March developers conference, Apple discussed some exciting changes in this new version, ones that have been consumer requests and market catch-ups for some time. The biggest single change is probably to iMessage, which is now catching up in a more Facebook Messenger-like way. Users will be able to do fun things like send stickers in their conversations, but will also be able to do useful things like send money through mobile payment apps.
Siri is getting a little pick-me-up as well, and this one has been a long time coming. Seemingly taking its cue from the widely successful Amazon Echo, Siri has been opened up to third-party apps under Apple’s strict scrutiny (much like its oversight over its own App Store). Siri will now potentially be compatible enough to respond to commands like, “Siri, get me an Uber,” or “Siri, read me a message from WhatsApp.” This third party compatibility also extends to some of the other features, like Maps. Now, instead of telling Siri just to find you a restaurant, you can locate the restaurant and book a table in the same process.
In terms of productivity, the Phone app will now produce a text-based message of your voicemails for reading important voice messages when listening to them isn’t convenient. There is also a new Home app, that will eventually form the basis of Apple’s own IoT (or is that iOT) connected HomeKit features; this app will allow you to activate these devices from within one app instead of switching around.