Apple plans to release a new feature that turns locked iPhones into smart home displays with iOS 17, according to a new report from Mark Gurman of Bloomberg. The interface will reportedly display information such as calendar events, weather and notifications in the style of a smart home display when the phone is locked and placed horizontally.
Gurman notes that the interface will work similarly to smart home devices from Google and Amazon. The idea behind the reported feature is to make iPhones more useful when they’re not actually being used and sitting on a desk or nightstand. The feature uses a dark background with clear text to make it easier to read from a distance.
The corporate-style smart display builds on Apple’s lock screen widgets, which launched last year as part of iOS 16, and let users see little snippets of information, such as the weather and news, below the time on their lock screens.
Gurman says Apple is working to bring this branded smart display feature to the iPad, but notes that the company isn’t bringing features to the iPad as quickly as the iPhone, given that the iPhone’s lock screen widgets aren’t yet available on iPads.
The report also says Apple plans to make significant changes to the iPhone’s Wallet app with iOS 17 and add improvements to its location services. Other changes include the addition of a dedicated journaling app designed to help users log their thoughts. In addition, Apple is said to be working on updates to SharePlay, the feature that allows users to stream TV shows, movies and music in sync with friends and family while having a FaceTime call together.
AirPlay, which lets you stream or share content from your Apple devices to your Apple TV or compatible smart TV, is also getting some updates. Gurman writes that the tech giant is in talks with hotels to make it easier for users to stream video and audio to devices they don’t own.
Gurman previously reported that Apple is working on emotion-tracking technology and has plans to roll out an iPad version of the iPhone Health app this year. Apple’s Health app is also getting tools for tracking emotions and managing vision disorders, such as nearsightedness.
Apple is likely to unveil the smart home-style display feature alongside iOS 17 at its Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5. The tech giant is expected to release its new AR/VR headset and the xrOS that power it, along with new Mac laptops and software.