Inside iOS 10: Third-party compatibility opens up Messages to Apple's app universe

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2016
Starting today, Apple device users will be able to operate in a vastly expanded Messages environment thanks to a new API that allows developers to build in third-party app integrations like stickers and app extensibility.




"When it comes to expressing yourself, there's so much more you could do if we could tap into all the creativity of all you developers and so we're opening up Messages to developers as well with iMessage apps," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering, at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote in June.

Users will be able to go into an App Drawer to view already-installed apps and drop their available content into messages. Access to the App Store, where new Messages apps can be downloaded, is also completely integrated, with no need to exit and go to the App Store app.




Users will access the drawer by pressing a dedicated app button located to the left of the text entry field in Messages, alongside options for entering photos and Digital Touch drawings.

The new framework will allow developers the ability to create of two types of app extensions: Sticker packs and iMessage apps.




With the new Sticker packs, developers can easily incorporate the images into their apps by simply dropping the images into the app's Sticker Pack folder inside the Stickers assets catalog. The images can be of three different point sizes (100x100, 136x36, 206x206).

Users will also be able to use much more sophisticated apps like Square Cash and make payments without leaving Messages.




iMessage app developers will be able to customize user interfaces, create custom or dynamic sticker browsers, insert text or media files, create interactive messages with app-specific data and update interactive messages like games or collaborative apps.

Federighi demonstrated the possibilities: choosing from a wide variety of Stickers and dropping one in with a tap, or even peeling one off and dropping it into a photo or message. When he received a message with an embedded app - in this instance suggesting a restaurant - he was able to tap in, access the menu, place an order, add it to his cart and then drop it into his message to be shared with friends, all without leaving the Messages app.




For the user, the new capabilities will allow the Messages app to tap into a wide universe of third-party apps, which currently stands at 2 million options on the App Store.



Editor's note: This article was originally published in June following Apple's announcement of iOS 10 at WWDC 2016. It is being republished to coincide with the mobile operating system's public release.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    TurboPGTTurboPGT Posts: 355member
    There is a lot going on here. So much so that it will be hard to fully appreciate until after public launch.
    jasenj1lollivercornchipcaliwatto_cobranolamacguy
  • Reply 2 of 24
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,919member
    Hoping for the eventual inclusion of 3rd party messaging protocols, so we can at least 'text' with other messaging apps on different platforms.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 24
    wdowellwdowell Posts: 208member
    Im going to be honest - I'm 31 and feel like i've suddenly become a pensioner. I dont understand this crazy with emojos and things bouncing about the screen. it seems so pointless and a waste of time. messages, for me, is something which helps me comjunicate quickly by firing little messages back and forth. Not composing a whole drawing /sketch or endlessly switching around emoticons. I honestly kbnow i'm out of touch but , wow, i didn't think i'd hit this stage for a few years within the Apple software world. I'm fine with payment integration and some smart bot type functions which faciliate a task, but all this kiddy stuff.. wow. i feel old!
    jackansijasenj1dreyfus2frantisekcornchip
  • Reply 4 of 24
    TurboPGTTurboPGT Posts: 355member
    Whether you like it or not, Messages is way a lot of people do a lot of their communication. It stands to reason that would be improved over time. I'm also 31. I don't see what's wrong with the improvements. Neither did the massive crowd of adult developers.
    lostkiwinolamacguylollivercaliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 24
    irelandireland Posts: 17,649member
    Pls pls pls do iMessage for Android this year, Apple. I want the ability to delete all other messaging apps and deal exclusively with iMessage and not kik, fb-mess, WA, WC, texts or anything else. The drum I keep beating: it will make Apple device owners device experience much better. The trick to keeping users is to improve their experience. Yes, a few people may go Android, but I think far more will see a way into the Apple ecosystem and the proposition of buying an Apple device will become more attractive to them.

    In short, a more attractive platform with a more seamless and integrated device communication experience.

    Or why not wait until the world has moved on and iMessage is a way of communicating seamelesly to just 10% of the world. That iMessages turn to texts messages if the recipient does not have an iPhone for me is not a feature, but an inconvenience—hence I turn that "feature" off. It's a pain in the butt to having to think about communication and who uses what app etc. Please simplify our lives!!
    edited June 2016 frantisekwatto_cobrasingularity
  • Reply 6 of 24
    I'm curious what the Classic Mac icon stands for.
    lollivercornchip
  • Reply 7 of 24
    irelandireland Posts: 17,649member
    I'm curious what the Classic Mac icon stands for.
    It's a classic Mac sticker collection created by Apple.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 24
    jasenj1jasenj1 Posts: 916member
    ireland said:
    Pls pls pls do iMessage for Android this year, 
    I think Apple just made this much harder. iMessage now runs little Swift applications in a heavily sandboxed environment. I think getting that onto Android would be very difficult. It will be interesting to see what sort of collaborative apps/environments emerge in iMessage. This has the potential to be paradigm shifting, or getting dumped as a clunky experiment.
    lollivercornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 24
    irelandireland Posts: 17,649member
    I think there are always ways around these things. It's software.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 24
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    wdowell said:
    Im going to be honest - I'm 31 and feel like i've suddenly become a pensioner. I dont understand this crazy with emojos and things bouncing about the screen. it seems so pointless and a waste of time. messages, for me, is something which helps me comjunicate quickly by firing little messages back and forth. Not composing a whole drawing /sketch or endlessly switching around emoticons. I honestly kbnow i'm out of touch but , wow, i didn't think i'd hit this stage for a few years within the Apple software world. I'm fine with payment integration and some smart bot type functions which faciliate a task, but all this kiddy stuff.. wow. i feel old!
    age is a number. my dad's 74 and enjoys sending emoji as much as i do. theyre fun little ways to break up the day and make us smile. anybody who says its for kids has a screw lose -- thats like saying flying kites is just for kids. thats nonsensical and without reason, anybody can enjoy these things.
    lolliverkevin keecali
  • Reply 11 of 24
    thedbathedba Posts: 478member
    mjtomlin said:
    Hoping for the eventual inclusion of 3rd party messaging protocols, so we can at least 'text' with other messaging apps on different platforms.
    Here, here. This is what I'm hoping for too. I have friends contacting me through Facebook's messenger, through Google Hangouts, through SMS and Messages. 
    If all this could be incorporated into my iPhone's or Mac's or iPad's Messages app, I'll be very happy.  
    oseamecornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 24
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,048member
    wdowell said:
    Im going to be honest - I'm 31 and feel like i've suddenly become a pensioner. I dont understand this crazy with emojos and things bouncing about the screen. it seems so pointless and a waste of time. messages, for me, is something which helps me comjunicate quickly by firing little messages back and forth. Not composing a whole drawing /sketch or endlessly switching around emoticons. I honestly kbnow i'm out of touch but , wow, i didn't think i'd hit this stage for a few years within the Apple software world. I'm fine with payment integration and some smart bot type functions which faciliate a task, but all this kiddy stuff.. wow. i feel old!
    It would be foolish for Apple not to expand, enhance and innovate iMessage seeing that majority of people spend their time with iMessage, it is a very big potential new platform. One wonders why Twitter and Facebook are so popular, and not only that, 90% of tweets and facebook comments use emojis! There is a great potential in iMessage and Apple can't afford to ignore that.
    caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 24
    latifbplatifbp Posts: 544member
    wdowell said:
    Im going to be honest - I'm 31 and feel like i've suddenly become a pensioner. I dont understand this crazy with emojos and things bouncing about the screen. it seems so pointless and a waste of time. messages, for me, is something which helps me comjunicate quickly by firing little messages back and forth. Not composing a whole drawing /sketch or endlessly switching around emoticons. I honestly kbnow i'm out of touch but , wow, i didn't think i'd hit this stage for a few years within the Apple software world. I'm fine with payment integration and some smart bot type functions which faciliate a task, but all this kiddy stuff.. wow. i feel old!
    Not only are you an old fogey, but don't seem to understand the competitive landscape of messaging out there. Just use what appeals to you and don't use what doesn't 
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 14 of 24
    latifbplatifbp Posts: 544member

    jasenj1 said:
    ireland said:
    Pls pls pls do iMessage for Android this year, 
    I think Apple just made this much harder. iMessage now runs little Swift applications in a heavily sandboxed environment. I think getting that onto Android would be very difficult. It will be interesting to see what sort of collaborative apps/environments emerge in iMessage. This has the potential to be paradigm shifting, or getting dumped as a clunky experiment.
    It's an even stronger reason to own an iPhone now
    cornchipcaliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 24
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,362member
    People think Apple doesn't "do" social just because of the failures of Ping, Game Center & whatever else, but I think Apple "does" social very well; they just do it a little differently.

    Naming iMessage threads is just one way of looking at this. Several of my iMessage threads are named. They're like little mini social networks. Opening iMessage up to apps will only bolster this concept. Markup in Mail is another. I use this to get Apple based clients to sign contracts and make notes for brainstorming. These things are very "social" in my mind. Sharing in Photos is another thing I think Apple does really well. I think as Apple's OS's become more intertwined we'll continue to see more of these things and I'm very excited to see what's coming.

    I think Ping and Game Center were attempts to "Do Social" the way everyone else does, but with these additions to Messages, I think maybe Apple is seeing how hey really do social and it's just different that what everyone else does.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 24
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,316member
    TurboPGT said:
    There is a lot going on here. So much so that it will be hard to fully appreciate until after public launch.
    I think Messages will be unrecognizable in 4 or 5 years. It may be an entirely different communications paradigm by then.
    caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 24
    Any updates since this article was originally published?
  • Reply 18 of 24
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    This mini market is gonna explode I can feel it. Nintendo already has 2 sticker packs with another one on the way.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 24
    I already paid $10+ just for stickers app within 5 hours installing iOS 10 :p The market is potentially HUGE.
    caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 24
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
    edited September 2016
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