Apple is set to release iOS 10 for compatible devices later tonight. Ahead of the official roll out, Apple has launched its iMessage App Store, which comes with a wide range of apps supporting the revamped messaging app. Currently, the iMessage App Store is available for users who have installed iOS 10 as part of the beta program. For those who are still on older iOS versions, you will have to wait till iOS 10 is publicly launched.
The iMessage App Store is very similar to Apple’s main App Store with different categories of apps. The resemblance to the main App Store isn’t really a bad thing as it brings familiarity for users, and helps get started. It is worth pointing out here that there are some apps, which are iMessage extensions of already available apps while there are others that are exclusively there for iMessage. Though there aren’t many apps right now but we can expect them to increase after the official roll out.
Right now the store offers you games, fun apps, keyboard apps and also everyone’s favorite stickers, which are from big names like Disney, Bandai Namco and Sario. As you can expect from Apple, a lot of apps are paid, but then again free ones are likely to come in with more users coming aboard.
How to access the iMessage App Store
With iOS 10, iMessage has undergone a major overhaul. So it may take some time to figure out how the new messaging works. But it is quite simple, and in fact pretty fun. Click on the App Store icon next to it to access the iMessage apps. Tap on the four dots on the left hand bottom, and then tap on the Plus icon to access the store.
The iMessage App Store looks pretty much same as the main App Store. On the top you have a search button, allowing you to look up for something particular. By default you are taken to the Featured section where you have all the apps listed categories wise. By swiping to the Manage section, you get a few customization options like you can disable a few apps that you no longer intend to use or automatically add regular apps that are installed on your iPhone as soon as they come with an iMessage compatible app.
What’s in the iMessage App Store?
The iMessage App Store covers almost all possible categories, ranging from cute stickers, games to productivity and entertainment focused apps. For gaming enthusiasts, the store has games like Checkmate, Word with Friends and Tic Tac Toe among others. As of now, there are seven games to choose from. For those looking for fun apps, the App Store has a Snapchat-like ‘Swapped’ face swapping app, and Emoji Pals for those looking for custom emojis. Also, the store has GIF keyboard, The Weather Channel for iMessage, IMDB and iTranslator among other apps. The catalog of Stickers may not be massive like Facebook Messenger, but is pretty impressive to begin.
While there are stickers for Star Wars, Angry Birds and Pac Man, you also have stickers for the Indian audience with Indian Stickers app, which features a variety of gestures, icons, idioms and slang. There’s a Being SalMan (Salman Khan) sticker pack, which features stickers from the Being Salman mobile game. A lot of apps are paid on the App Store with prices starting as low as Rs 10 and goes up to Rs 250. ALSO READ: First photos from the Apple iPhone 7 Plus are here and they look amazing
Overall, the iMessage App Store looks pretty impressive despite a lesser number of apps. What is more important to note that how the store and a variety of the apps have made iMessage a compelling app for iOS users. That said, despite the revamp, iMessage is still limited by not being compatible with other smartphone platforms, especially Android, which powers most smartphones in India. ALSO READ: Apple iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus: How to get Apple’s latest iPhones cheaper and earlier than India launch