iPhone and Mac fans who want to test out Apple's latest operating systems can now download the public beta versions of both iOS 10 and macOS Sierra. Both were released today, a few months before the final versions are launched in the fall.
Apple has described iOS 10 as the "biggest release ever" of its mobile operating system. New features arriving with this update include expanded capabilities for Siri, Apple's intelligent digital assistant, as well as "differential privacy," a new technology aimed at improving machine learning based on anonymized analysis of customers' usage patterns.
Siri will also arrive for the first time on desktop devices with the launch of macOS Sierra. The updated operating system also introduces greater integration with the cloud, making it easier for users to access files and documents saved on desktops via iPhones or iPads.
Redesigned Lock Screen, Siri SDK
The public beta version of iOS 10 updates some of the features that came out with the first preview build opened up to developers when it was launched at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference last month. One of the first changes users will notice is the redesigned lock screen. Rather than sliding a finger across the screen to unlock a device, a user with an iPhone 6s, 6s Plus or SE will be able to wake the phone simply by raising it.
Sliding a finger to the right across the lock screen produces a view of widgets, while sliding to the left will turn on the iPhone's camera. A user will also be able to specify how much information appears on the lock screen through TouchID.
The new public beta version of iOS 10 also offers a number of other updates. Among the "hidden features" identified by CNET today are a built-in image and video search box in Messages, new filter options for Mail and one-tap unsubscribing to email newsletters.
With iOS 10, Apple is also opening up its intelligent assistant to developers with the Siri software development kit (SDK). The SDK will enable developers to create third-party apps that incorporate Siri for a variety of different tasks.
Mobile-to-Desktop Apple Pay
The public beta version of macOS Sierra is essentially the same as the second preview build made available to developers earlier this week. In addition to bringing Siri intelligence to the desktop, the new version of macOS introduces new tools for turning photos into slideshows, copying text and other information from an iPhone to a Mac or vice versa, and automatically saving files and documents from a desktop device onto Apple's iCloud Drive.
Apple's latest desktop operating system update also brings new support for its Apple Pay mobile payments system. With macOS Sierra, a user can authorize desktop purchases with either an iPhone TouchID or an Apple Watch rather than having to input credit card or PayPal data into a computer.
Other new features include new support for optimizing storage by automatically transferring rarely accessed files into the cloud, expanded emoji and message options, a redesigned Apple Music interface, picture-in-picture capabilities and tabs for improved management of multiple windows.
Like iOS 10, macOS Sierra will also introduce differential privacy that Apple said will help it "discover the usage patterns of a large number of users without compromising individual privacy." On desktops, that's expected to lead to improved autocorrect suggestions and lookup hints in Notes.
Image credit: Product shots by Apple; iStock/Artist's concept.
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