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Don’t expect a big redesign in iOS 16 – but notifications could be improved

Apple will announce a major update to the iPhone’s notifications system and health-tracking abilities at WWDC, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. 

Gurman shared his predictions for Apple’s annual software conference in his latest Power On newsletter. 

“On the iOS side, I’m looking for some fairly significant enhancements across the board, including an update to notifications and new health-tracking features”, wrote Gurman. 

It isn’t overly clear what Gurman means by this, as the language is quite vague. 

In iOS 15, Apple switched up the look of the notifications panel and introduced a new feature that grouped alerts together to send them out throughout the day, so its possible Apple is heading further in that direction. 

Gurman also warned Apple fans not to get too excited about the prospect of a complete redesign. 

“I’m not expecting an end-to-end redesign of iOS’s interface, even though it hasn’t changed much since iOS 7 nearly a decade ago”, he noted in the newsletter. 

This makes sense considering Apple gave its OS a minor overhaul with the introduction of widgets at the end of 2020, transforming the home screen into a more interactive, Android-like experience. 

Apple rarely switches up the look of its operating system, focussing instead on introducing new features and privacy features, so it seems unlikely Apple would redesign the whole OS this year. 

So, what about Apple’s other operating systems? 

“There might be a new iPadOS multitasking interface”, Gurman said of the tablet OS. “The Apple Watch, meanwhile, may get major upgrades to activity and health tracking”. 

This would make sense if iOS 16 is getting new health-tracking features, as the Apple Watch is designed to be paired with the iPhone. 

Plus, additional health features, like blood pressure tracking, blood sugar monitoring and a body temperature sensor have long been rumoured for the Apple Watch (though the latter has since been said to have been delayed). 

WWDC is set to take place from June 6 – 10 this year and will likely include previews of iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and watchOS 9, as well as macOS 13 and tvOS 16.

You can read more about the event and what we expect to see there in our guide to WWDC 2022.

Trusted Take

As with any rumour, it’s best to take this with a hefty pinch of salt. But, I have to say that improved notifications are one of my biggest requests for iOS 16 and I would happily take that over an entire redesign I don’t think is needed. The current way notifications arrive and stack up on an iPhone remains inferior to Android and I still get too many pointless alerts taking the place of important ones. Apple needs to implement a far better priority system and ideally allow certain, important apps to offer larger notifications.

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