Apple has announced a number of new features for the Messages app in iOS 10, including Digital Touch videos and new chat bubble effects.
Messages now shows shared media inside chat transcripts, so that link and image thumbnail previews display, Apple Music tracks can be listened to, and videos can be played without leaving the app.
The camera functionality has also been enhanced inside Messages, allowing users to see what the camera lens is focusing on, while recently taken photos can be browsed alongside the lens view.
iOS 10 also brings emoji predictions as you type, and Messages will highlight words that have corresponding emoji characters, allowing users to tap them and instantly turn them into images. Emojis are also displayed three times bigger than previously in chat transcripts.
Another new feature is called “Bubble Effects”, which enable users to expand or deflate chat bubbles in the transcript screen for emphasis. Bubbles can also be made to reveal their contents gradually for dramatic effect.
In addition, Messages in iOS 10 will support handwritten message bubbles, and includes a Digital Touch feature similar to on the Apple Watch, allowing users to sketch responses, share their heartbeat, and more.
Fullscreen animated background effects are also included in the new Messages app, such as disco lights and fireworks, while new third-party ‘iMessage apps’ can be added in a dedicated app drawer similar to that found in Facebook Messenger, where stickers, seals and animations reside for quick access.
iOS 10 supports all iOS 9 devices except the iPhone 4s and iPad 2, and is available to developers in beta today, while the public beta comes in July, followed by a full release in the fall.
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