iOS 10 could be the iPhone’s biggest software update yet

In what appears to be an attempt to combat the rising popularity of over-the-top messaging apps such as Snapchat, Messenger, and WhatsApp, Apple has given iOS' Message app a whole lot of love. While there are a few practical features – including rich links that create previews of web pages, photos, and videos – Apple is placing much more of an emphasis on fun. Emojis are three times bigger, and will be included in predictive text. When inserting an emoji, words that can be swapped for an emoji will automatically be highlighted. Tapping one of these words will show multiple options when available (for example, with words like "love or "happy").

iOS users will also be able to bring their messages to life with "bubble effects" and "full screen effects". Bubble effects are short animations that play when a message is being delivered, such as appearing larger or smaller than normal. One of the more interesting options is invisible ink, which makes the recipient "scratch" a message or photo to reveal it. Full screen effects are animations that take over the entire screen, and include options such as balloons and fireworks.

Messages will support handwriting, and the ability to draw or add stickers onto images or videos before sending them.

Third party developers will be able to build apps for iMessage, which will range from sticker packs, to payments, to group food ordering.

Behind the scenes, Apple is opening up Siri to third party developers. This will allow Apple's virtual assistance to interact with apps and service's other than Apple's own. For example, users will be able to use Siri to message via apps such as Slack and WhatsApp, book rides through Uber, or make calls through Skype. Importantly, Siri will continue to understand natural syntax when it comes to these third party apps; "Slack Alex" and "send a message to Alex through Slack" will provide the same result.

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