Last month's launch of iOS 10 brought with it a stockpile of new incentives for anyone who frequents the iMessage app (so... everyone). Shunning chatbots, Apple chose to go with an app-within-an-app strategy with the launch of the App Store for iMessage, which is filled with extensions that help users interact seamlessly with their apps without any double-tapping mishegoss.
If you've taken the iOS 10 plunge then you've probably noticed the little App Store icon at the bottom of your iMessage chats. Clicking that button reveals a shortcut to the iMessage App Store, as well as any extensions you may already have. The iMessage apps range from highly useful (decipher other languages using iTranslate or book a resy using OpenTable) to old-fashioned fun (finding that perfect Ken Bone GIF on Giphy).
A decent selection of music-related iMessage apps have emerged as well, including a few from household names like Shazam and Genius. Here's a quick recap of what's out there so far:
Announced today (Oct. 13), Pandora's new iMessage extension works in a couple ways: while chit-chatting with friends, you can search Pandora's entire catalog and share a snippet with that person, who can then click to start a new station on their own Pandora account. If you're mid-convo and you want to share a song - but don't have a track in mind - Pandora curators have suggestions based on moods. There's also a set of 12 stickers... [FREE]
An iMessage-only app, mixings exists to help friends create mixtapes together while chatting. "Mixmsg helps you create and share two-sided mixtapes as easily as texting," the app says in the App Store. "Mixtapes are nostalgic gold, conjuring the feelings that we've missed since the 80's - expressing yourself via songs!" From the iMessage extension, you and a friend take turns searching for songs and send them to each other, which fills out the tape. Interestingly, the actual tracks are provided by Spotify and if both contributors are users of the streaming service, you can play the songs in full. [FREE]
The annotation experts created an iMessage extension that lets you browse popular songs and send lyrics while chatting. Even better, it gives you the ability to create your own shareable graphic by putting the lyrics atop a photo from your own camera roll. The app is likely getting a workout today with Bob Dylan lyrics. [FREE]
Stars, they're just like us. Except they have apps -- and some even have apps for their apps, like country star Dierks Bentley. The iMessage extension to his keyboard app gives you ready access to hundreds of "rocking emojis and stickers to share with your friends," according to its App Store description. [$1.99] Launched in June, Justin Bieber's Justmoji app is exactly what you think it is -- a clearinghouse of hundreds of stickers, GIFs, videos and expressions starring the Canadian pop idol. The app's iMessage extension gives you fast access to that trove while in the midst of a conversation. [$1.99]
You're at a Wilco concert, waiting in line for the bathroom while iMessaging with your friend back in your seats. The band starts a deep cut (it's off Summerteeth) and you ask "what's that song, fellow dad rock fan?" Without leaving iMessage, you can tap the Shazam button in your extensions to initiate the same music recognition magic that the app has been doing for years. The result pops into the compose field, ready to send, and users can click on it for larger artwork, a Shazam count and links to buy at iTunes. [FREE]
The app for sharing and discovering new podcasts has a new iMessage extension that lets you easily share recently played episodes and receive recommendations without leaving the conversation. [$4.99]