A new version of iOS never really feels complete until the fall once developers get to submit apps built with the new software & its features in mind, which makes using the beta versions throughout the summer a bit underwhelming. You get to try out a bunch of cool new features and bits of UI that you saw in the WWDC keynote address, but they're only usable in a handful of the apps you'd want to see them in as an end-user.
On the other hand, it also allows some valuable time to get used to & think about the changes that Apple made to iOS itself. That's the main reason I install buggy software onto my devices every year come June - and it had me thinking to myself a month into this year's beta cycle; "what do I like most about iOS 10 so far?"
I sat on that question for a few days, and found the answer coming up most often was iOS 10's new lockscreen. In my month with the new software it's what I'd noticed myself liking the most, but I wasn't exactly sure why when preparing to write this piece. So I took a closer look.
If you haven't seen the new design yet, then I'd highly recommend looking over Apple's iOS 10 preview page so you at least can see what the new UI looks like. This piece won't make much sense without it.
The first thing I thought to do was sketch out all the possible interactions one could have with iOS's lockscreen in the last few years. First drawing out a pre-TouchID iOS 7, then last year's iOS 9, and lastly the upcoming iOS 10 with its revised design.
My impression from using the new design was that iOS 10's lockscreen somehow made everything more simple - so when drawing out all three UI-flows I expected to see a simpler path in iOS 10's version of the UX. Man, was I wrong.
Look at the drawing above and you can see for yourself that since 2013 Apple has done anything but simplify their lockscreen paradigms. With Control Center, Today Widgets, TouchID, rich notifications, clearing notifications, and most recently 3D-Touch - I hadn't realized until I drew it out just how crowded iOS's lockscreen had become.
I don't do much in the way of UI-design by trade, so I didn't realize at first that I'd been comparing the three versions of UI all wrong. iOS 10's design still felt simpler to use, so I started over and instead compared the designs on how many actions one needed to take in order to accomplish common lockscreen tasks.
Aha! There was the pattern I was looking for.
There's probably still more to it, but I think through a couple thought exercises I've figured out what makes iOS 10's lockscreen my favorite new feature of the OS - It's continued to add new things to the lockscreen, all while making common actions easier and quicker through the use of new tech & UI.
Checking notifications is as easy as picking up your phone from the desk or pulling it from your pocket. See something there that you'd like to interact with? Just 3D-Touch into a rich interaction and deal with it there, or lay your thumb onto the home button and head to the homescreen instead. Looking for some hand-picked widget information, to change some settings, or to snap a quick picture? Those are all just a swipe away too.
This is the kind of simplification that I love to notice from Apple. They took the lockscreen they'd been working with since iOS 7 - which was sorely in need of a refresh - and re-thought it in a way that combined the previous implementation with the new raise-to-wake & 3D-Touch technologies.
I'm no expert, but I think it's a pretty cool bundle of UI that comes with iOS 10. A lot of people will probably struggle to re-map their muscle memory like I did in the first few weeks, but once you're used to the change it's a nice improvement.
Simpler, quicker, and all utilizing the iPhone's newest features. Wait till fall or jump on a beta release to try it out.
I'll be here waiting.