You just have to look at WeChat to understand the brave new world of messaging services. Gone are the days of plain old text; the future is an emoji-filled customisable creative space bundled with extra services.
As we found out during WWDC 2016, Apple's Messages is getting with the times by integrating a load of new features to help you express yourself. If you’ve always resisted conformity, it might soon be time to shift your heavy texting duties back to Messages.
Here are some of iOS 10's titillating texty features - perhaps they'll tempt you away from WhatsApp's embrace.
Send a surprise
If you’ve always wanted to add the element of surprise to your texting, this is for you. Invisible Ink will add a shimmery overlay to your photos or messages. The recipient can swipe over to reveal what lies beneath.
We know you’re already thinking it, so we’re just going to say it - surprise NSFW pictures! Oh, that wasn’t what you were thinking? We apologise for putting ideas in your head.
There are also screen takeovers, which nobody will be able to ignore. Say happy birthday and have balloons float all over your friend’s screen, or make confetti rain down in a congratulatory text.
It’s reserved for celebratory messages of positivity, so if you were hoping for something ruder, we’re afraid you’re going to have to keep dreaming.
Respond quicker than ever
The native QuickType keyboard gets contextual with the help of Siri. That means when someone asks you what a certain person's number is, you automatically get suggestions to quickly shoot a reply back - no need to leave the app to trawl through your contacts. Or if someone asks for your location, Siri will offer to send your address.
For the occasion when messages accumulate because you pop in to read them and then totally forget to reply, there's Tapback. It lets you tap an instant reply that’s really quite similar to the act of reacting to your friends’ posts on Facebook, right down to the six options available. But hey, at least you’re not leaving your friend hanging for a response.
When you do have the time to respond to your gazillion messages, the system will intelligently scan your reply and highlight words that can be replaced with emoji. Could this be the death of the English language as we know it? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
You know what they say - an emoji is worth a thousand words. Plus, you don’t have to squint your way through the extensive listing of emoji to find the right one. Just let your iPhone do the work for you.
If you prefer to go analogue, you can send a message in your own handwriting, as long as you have something more legible than a doctor’s scrawl.
Also you get to doodle a little something for your friend like on the Watch, and even draw on videos if that's your thing.
Line has done it. Facebook Messenger is on it. And now Messages. We’re talking about stickers. Sure it’s gimmicky, but nobody can deny it’s fun.
You can stick them on photos and even text messages. We especially like the old school peel-off effect - it's kind of like turning pages with an e-reader app, making you feel you’re not just swiping across a glass screen.
It’s what Apple has done with the Edit function in the Photos app - integrating third party photo editing apps into it so you can jazz up your shots.
So now you can use apps like JibJab for GIFs to personalise your text messages, or if you’re looking for a more practical add-on, Square Cash to send payments. And that's just the tip of the iceberg - who knows what developers will come up with before the iOS 10 arrives?