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Apple is gearing up to unveil iOS 17 at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2023, and new details are emerging about the exciting features in store for the next major update. According to a report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, iOS 17 will introduce new capabilities to the always-on display feature, potentially setting the stage for a future Apple smart display.
The always-on display is a popular feature among iPhone 14 Pro users, allowing them to glance at important information without fully unlocking their devices. Currently, the always-on display shows a dimmed version of the wallpaper, time, notifications, and up to five widgets. However, it lacks support for landscape mode on the lock screen and home screen.
In iOS 17, Apple plans to address this limitation by bringing a new display mode to the iPhone 14 Pro, transforming it into a smart display when locked in landscape orientation. This new display view will activate when an iPhone is locked and placed horizontally, similar to dedicated displays offered by Google and Amazon. This enhancement aims to make iPhones more useful when they are resting on a desk or nightstand, for example.
According to sources familiar with the project, the new display view will showcase various data, including calendar appointments, weather updates, and notifications, resembling the functionality of a smart home display. To ensure optimal legibility, the feature will utilize a dark background with bright text.
The introduction of landscape support for the always-on display represents a significant departure from the existing experience in iOS 16. While iPhone 14 Pro users can already configure widgets to display similar information, iOS 17 appears to leverage the available screen space more effectively. This update will mark the first major software release for iPhones since Apple introduced always-on display hardware with iOS 16 and the iPhone 14 Pro.
Interestingly, Gurman’s report suggests that Apple is also developing its own smart display, similar to Amazon’s Echo Show products. This aligns with the direction iOS 17 is taking with its always-on display enhancements, hinting at a potential future where Apple’s smart displays become a reality.
It is important to note that the new display technology is expected to remain exclusive to the Pro line until the arrival of the iPhone 15 later this year. However, there are speculations that the Dynamic Island design and interface may eventually extend to non-Pro models, offering a more immersive and interactive experience for a wider range of users.
In addition to the always-on display improvements, Gurman’s report sheds light on other notable features coming with iOS 17. Apple plans to make significant changes to the Wallet app and enhance its location services. Furthermore, iPad users can look forward to a new horizontal interface, although lock screen widgets will remain exclusive to the iPhone for now.
One of the areas where Apple is expected to focus on iOS 17 is the SharePlay feature. SharePlay was introduced in iOS 15 last year, allowing users to enjoy synchronized TV shows, movies, and Apple Music with friends and family. However, it didn’t receive much attention in iOS 16, making it a prime candidate for improvements in iOS 17. While specific details about the enhancements remain scarce, users can anticipate a more refined and seamless experience with SharePlay.
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Additionally, Apple has been working on enhancing its AirPlay technology, which enables wireless streaming of video and audio content. The company has reportedly engaged in discussions with hotels and other establishments offering TVs and speakers, aiming to streamline the process of wirelessly beaming content to devices that users don’t own. This move demonstrates Apple’s intention to tap into new markets and expand the availability of AirPlay, much like Google’s casting features.
Rumors surrounding iOS 17 also highlight the introduction of a dedicated journaling app, health-related features, updates to the Find My and Wallet apps, and more. According to Gurman, the journaling app will resemble the popular Day One app, allowing users to take notes and incorporate a stronger social element. This app may also integrate with a mood-tracking feature that will enable users to monitor their emotional well-being over time. The addition of these features aligns with Apple’s continued focus on user health and well-being.
As the official announcement of iOS 17 approaches, scheduled for WWDC 2023 in less than two weeks, the excitement among iPhone and iPad users continues to build. The anticipation for the forthcoming advancements and features is palpable, as Apple once again aims to push the boundaries of what its devices can do.