[Editor's Note (3/28/17): iOS 10.3 has been released with some new features detailed below.]
The iPhone and iPad are getting a slew of new productivity-boosting features. With the launch of iOS 10 – the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system – you'll get an improved virtual assistant, updated messaging, and new ways to connect your mobile device to your desktop computer.
You'll have to wait until fall to get iOS 10 on your own device. In the meantime, here's a rundown of the features that will benefit business users.
A better Siri
Siri has been helping mobile workers be more productive for years, and the virtual assistant app is getting some notable updates with iOS 10. Siri will now be able to control third-party apps, meaning you can use voice commands to initiate a Skype call with a client or colleague, hail a cab or Uber ride, or send a message on Slack, a chat app designed for work. You can also use Siri to check the status of bills with payment apps. It can even check car fuel level and lock status, and turn on car lights via auto apps.
With the launch of last year's iOS 9, Apple introduced a slate of features to help the iPhone and iPad connect to Mac computers. Now these so-called Continuity features are being updated with new abilities for iOS 10. For starters, you'll be able to view and access all your desktop files and folders on your iPhone, which will be synced across devices, thanks to the iCloud.
Then there's Universal Clipboard, a nifty new tool that makes it easier to copy text, photos and more from the iPhone or iPad to your MacBook or Mac desktop. That means you can forget about emailing links from your phone to your computer, which will save you time.
Tired of scrambling to jot down information in a client's voicemail? With iOS 10, your iPhone will use voice recognition to automatically transcribe every voicemail that comes your way, converting it into text that you can view at a glance. Of course, you'll still be able to listen to the full message, complete with pause and rewind functionality.
Your iPhone will make you more secure with the release of iOS 10, thanks to Auto Unlock. The new feature will let you pair your iPhone to your Mac laptop or desktop computer via Bluetooth. After that, your computer will unlock itself anytime it detects your mobile device is nearby. That's nice for workers who are tired of fussing with cumbersome password screens.
The improved Messages app will save you time with new automation features. For example, the app recognizes when someone asks where you are, then gives you the option to fire off a quick reply with your current location. Apple says the app also features improved text prediction, to help you avoid typos.
iCloud calls have been supported on AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. But with iOS 10.3 it now supports Verizon as well. You can also see more information about your iCloud account and how storage is being used. In Settings, Apple tells you how much storage is being used, but now you can also see what kinds of files are being stored and which devices are using that storage space. That could allow your business to figure out how to better organize storage.
Apple's built a new file system with the APFS (Apple File System). It replaces HFS and HFS+ systems. The new process offers a heavy focus on encryption for better security. It also offers better optimization for flash storage.