Apple is reportedly planning to introduce a new feature in its upcoming iOS 17 update that could transform locked iPhones into smart displays, similar to Google’s Nest Hub or the recently released Pixel Tablet and Amazon’s Echo Show series. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, this move signifies Apple’s continued foray into the smart home market.
Sources familiar with the project reveal that when an iPhone is locked and placed flat, a display similar to the Apple Watch’s nightstand mode will appear. This feature aims to enhance user convenience in situations where the iPhone is not actively in use. The interface will showcase bright characters against a dark background based on the lock screen widget introduced in iOS 16. Users can expect to view stock price tickers, news updates, temperature, calendar schedules, weather information, notifications, and more, all beneath the time display.
Apple is actively exploring alternative ways to transform its devices into smart home displays. One such endeavour involves the development of affordable tablet devices that can magnetically attach to walls and stands. However, progress in this area has been relatively slow, with the rumoured tablet struggling to materialize as a full-fledged smart home display capable of controlling various aspects such as thermostats, lighting, displaying videos, and enabling FaceTime conversations.
Alongside the smart display feature, iOS 17 is expected to bring significant updates to the iPhone’s Wallet application, improvements to location services, and the introduction of a journaling app with note-taking capabilities, aiming to enhance the social aspect of the device. Furthermore, Apple has already confirmed that several accessibility enhancements will be included in the update.