Apple is planning to release a new feature that turns locked iPhones into smart home displays with iOS 17, according to a new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The interface will reportedly display information such as calendar appointments, the weather and notifications in the style of a smart home display when the phone is locked and positioned horizontally.
Gurman notes that the interface will operate similar 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 are lying on a desk or nightstand. The feature will use a dark background with bright text to make it easier to read from a distance.
The smart home-style display will build on Apple’s lock screen widgets, which launched last year as part of iOS 16 and allow users to see small tidbits of information, such as the weather and news, below the time on their lock screens.
Gurman says Apple is working on bringing this smart home-style display feature to the iPad, but notes that the company doesn’t bring features to iPad as fast as it does with iPhone, considering that the iPhone’s lock screen widgets aren’t yet available on iPads.
The report also says Apple is planning to introduce significant changes to the iPhone’s Wallet app with iOS 17 and will add enhancements to its location services. Other changes include the addition of a dedicated journaling app that is designed to help users log their thoughts. In addition, Apple is said to be working on updates for SharePlay, which is its feature that lets users stream TV shows, movies and music in sync with friends and family while on 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 going to be getting some updates. Gurman writes that the tech giant has been 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 technology for tracking emotions and plans to roll out an iPad version of the iPhone Health app this year. Apple’s Health app will also be getting tools for tracking emotions and managing vision conditions, such as nearsightedness.
Apple will likely reveal 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 powering it, alongside new Mac laptops and software.