When Apple announced all the changes to the Messages app and the addition of animations, stickers, apps, and other whiz-bang features in June, a lot of my nerd friends thought it was silly. I didn't. As I write this, I'm sitting at a Starbucks doing a bit of work. Two women sitting at the table next to me are in fits of laughter as they send themselves stickers, balloons, and other text effects. What pushed me over the edge to stop and write this is when one said to the other, "This is the best update ... EVER!"
Granted this is just one example but I'm hearing about the new Messages features from many non-geek family and friends and they all love it. As much as I wanted Apple to put more work into iPad productivity with iOS 10 (that may still be coming later), I absolutely see why they went so hard at improving Messages. People love this stuff. When Android users see their iPhone friends using these effects, they will be tempted. This will sell iPhones.
The challenge I think Apple faces with this is to keep it relevant. Apple has a history of doing innovative things and then leaving them in place as they move on to other things. If Apple really want to make this work, I think there should be a team constantly adding new screen animations and text effects. Ideally they'd change monthly and include holiday themes effects. Why not have turkeys in November and wrapped gifts in December? They've got a lot of happy consumers right now with these new features. I hope they don't let this turn stale.