Apple Prepping Messaging Upgrades To Compete With Facebook

Apple iPhone

Apple is preparing a major overhaul to its mobile software, along with changes that could see it competing in the messaging arena with Facebook.

That’s according to Bloomberg, which cites unnamed sources as saying the changes include upgrades to how users handle notifications, redesigns to the iPad home screen and an updated lock screen.

The software updates are codenamed Sky and will be unveiled at Apple’s early June Worldwide Developers Conference, according to the news outlet. The changes reportedly in development are slated for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, meaning big upgrades for the Apple iPhone and iPad.

The sources say Apple is also working on an improved iMessage with the hopes on one day turning the feature into more of a social network to better compete with WhatsApp, Facebook’s messaging platform. However, these changes are still in their infancy and Apple declined to comment on the story.

Bloomberg says Apple is planning a new menu feature that lets users choose different notification preferences depending on their current status: driving, sleeping, working and other custom categories.

Users will also get the option to set automatic message replies based on their status, an upgrade from the current auto-reply, something now available only while driving. It will be the first time Apple has offered a systemwide feature to change notifications depending on user status.

The iPad home screen will get some upgrades as well. Similar to a feature introduced for the iPhone in 2020, this change will let users put widgets for things like weather and upcoming appointments anywhere on the home screen or replace their entire app grid with just widgets.

This news comes two days after Apple held its annual “Spring Loaded” event to announce new products and features.

This year’s unveiling included a new screen for the iPad Pro, a more feature-rich Apple TV, a refresh for the iMac, as well as the Apple Card Family, which allows users of the Apple Card to share it with family members.