Apple is just days away from presenting iOS 17 for the first time, and new details are emerging about what’s in store for the next big update. According to Bloomberg, iOS 17 will bring new features to the always-on display hardware that could be a precursor to a future Apple smart display.
Mark Gurman reports that iOS 17 will add a new display mode that turns the iPhone 14 Pro into a smart display of sorts when locked in landscape orientation. The always-on display currently presents a dimmed version of the wallpaper, time, notifications, and up to five widgets. No landscape support is present on the lock screen nor home screen.
Per the report:
The view will appear when an iPhone is locked and positioned horizontally, operating similarly to dedicated displays offered by Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc., according to people familiar with the project. The idea is to make iPhones more useful when they’re, for example, lying on a person’s desk or nightstand.
Gurman adds that the new display view will be capable of presenting data like “calendar appointments, the weather and notifications in the style of a smart-home display.” He also reports that the feature will rely on a dark background and bright text for increased legibility.
This sounds like a clear distinction between the existing always-on lock screen experience with iOS 16. Presumably, the experience will remain the same in portrait orientation. As for landscape orientation support, Apple has previously supported a dedicated home screen layout that rotates everything on iPhone 6 Plus and similar.
iPhone 14 Pro users can already configure widgets to show this sort of information, but iOS 17 sounds like it could take better advantage of the available screen space. iOS 17 will be the first major software update for iPhone since the company launched always-on display hardware with iOS 16 and iPhone 14 Pro.
The new display technology is expected to remain exclusive to the Pro line with the iPhone 15 later this fall, although the Dynamic Island design and interface is expected to come to the non-Pro line.
Finally, Gurman adds that “significant changes to the iPhone’s Wallet app and will make enhancements to its location services” as part of iOS 17. As for iPadOS, Gurman says “a new horizontal interface for the iPad” is in the works, but it doesn’t sound like this will be ready yet considering lock screen widgets are still iPhone-only.
Apple confirmed this week that its annual Worldwide Developer Conference keynote address will take place on Monday, June 5, at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. Keep it locked to 9to5Mac for comprehensive coverage leading up to the event. We’ll also be onsite for WWDC 2023 all week long.
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