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Apple’s new “Red Balloon” TV ad artfully pushes new messaging features in iOS 10

Apple now calls messaging in its OS “expressive messaging.” The new ad, which began airing on TV on Thursday, features a bright red balloon coming out of a farmhouse window and flying against gray skies and over the ocean until making it to a city setting where it floats through a window to somebody’s birthday party. The point is that iOS 10 messaging is now capable of expressing a far wider array of emotional meanings, and in a more compelling way.

It’s interesting that Apple sees the messaging app as important enough to tempt buyers to buy the new iPhone 7. Messaging in iOS is far more dynamic than in earlier versions of the OS. You can now add colorful backgrounds (like rising balloons or confetti or disco laser lights), make text larger, smaller, and animated, add video or music within the messages, or add in content from messaging app partners like Jib Jab. A new feature makes suggestions where you might want to replace words with emoji.MS