What happened?

Ahead of the first deliveries of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus on September 16, the tech giant has just released its latest version of iOS for its mobile devices, including iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. While iOS 10, which Apple calls its "biggest release yet," includes a wide range of new features, the most notable are a totally overhauled message experience, integration of Siri with third-party apps, and more uses for 3D Touch.

Image source: Apple.

Other new features worth mentioning include:

  • redesigned Maps
  • redesigned Apple News
  • redesigned Apple Music
  • richer notifications
  • a raise-to-wake function for iPhone SE and 6s or later models
  • Apple Pay for the web

The upgrade is available for iPhone 5, the fourth-generation iPad, the iPad Mini 2, and the sixth-generation iPod Touch or later.

Does it matter?

With iOS devices accounting for about 70% of the company's revenue, an enriching iOS experience is critical for the company. Indeed, software features are more important than ever, as the company faces headwinds with product revenue growth.

Apple's iOS is a key component of the company's high customer-loyalty rates, and it reinforces the strength of Apple's robust ecosystem of hardware, products, and services.

Of course, an exceptional mobile operating system is already expected from Apple, so this isn't thesis-altering news. But it's definitely an important piece of what gives Apple its staying power.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.