iOS 10 to offer voicemail transcription, new API for third-party VoIP apps

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Looking to improve the calling functions on iOS devices, Apple on Monday announced iOS 10 features like voicemail transcriptions, and a new API for third-party VoIP apps, allowing them to behave more like regular iPhone calls.

The transcription function will try to interpret what a caller says in text form, sometimes eliminating the need to play back a message. These transcriptions can also appear in iOS 10's improved notifications, saving the trouble of even unlocking a device.

The new VoIP API will firstly allow third-party apps like WhatsApp to display incoming calls on the lockscreen as if there were from Apple's own Phone app, including standard "Remind Me" and "Message" options. Third-party apps can appear on a person's iOS contact page.

Apple has meanwhile collaborated with Cisco, enabling calls to a work VoIP number to reach a personal phone.

Finally, where supported, iOS 10 will try to gauge whether an incoming phone call is spam, displaying an alert while it's still ringing.

iOS 10 is launching today as a developer beta. A public beta will arrive in July, followed by a final release in the fall, presumably shortly before new iPhones ship.