Apple is giving developers access to Siri for the first time with iOS 10, its next mobile operating system. The Cupertino tech giant is also giving developers the ability to create apps built specifically for iMessage.

Siri has been around on the iPhone since 2011, but the voice assistant has always been limited to commands that are specific for Apple-developed apps, such as "Open up iTunes," "Call Carla" or "Set an alarm for 7 a.m." With iOS 10, Apple will allow developers to connect their apps directly to Siri, letting users leverage the powerful voice assistant for their favorite third-party apps. With the upcoming operating system users will be able to give commands such as "Siri, send a WhatsApp to James," "Siri, get me a Lyft" or "Siri, call Carlos on Skype."

Apple announced iOS 10 on Monday at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco as part of the keynote to kickoff its Worldwide Developer Conference happening this week. The tech giant will release a public beta of iOS 10 next month and an official release in the fall. The company will release a developer version of the mobile operating system later today, allowing developers to hop into the new software and immediately begin writing code that will let their apps tap into Siri.

But of course, iOS 10 goes beyond Siri. In the new operating system, Apple is beefing up iMessage to making texting more dynamic and enjoyable. Users will be able to send hand-written notes, full-screen responses, hidden messages and emoji that are three times as large as they appear today. But these are only the Apple-developed improvements.

For iOS 10, Apple will give developers the ability to create apps specifically for iMessage. Users will be able to send stickers from their favorite movies, such as "Finding Dory," directly to their friends, or they can tap into apps like JibJab to send animations of themselves. If you owe money to a friend, you'll be able to pay them within iMessage by using the Square Cash app.

This is the first time Apple has opened up iMessage and Siri to developers. Both of these are among Apple's most used features on the iPhone and present big opportunities for developers to innovate and create the next big apps.

Along with iOS 10, Apple announced watch OS 3 for the Apple Watch and a new version of tvOS for the Apple TV. Apple also gave a demo of macOS Sierra -- the Mac operating system will no longer be known as OS X. All of these operating systems will be available for consumers in the fall, with developer versions available later today.

Published on: Jun 13, 2016