iOS 17 StandBy feels like an experiment for a new home device

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iOS 17 StandBy feels like an experiment for a new home device

iOS 17, which was announced on Monday, has a lot of new features. But one of the features that immediately caught my attention was StandBy, a new mode that shows widgets in full screen when the iPhone is in landscape on the charger. While this mode is certainly a great addition to the iPhone, it feels like it was created for another category of product – like a home-focused device.

What is StandBy mode?

StandBy, in some ways, is similar to the Nightstand Mode on the Apple Watch. However, it has many more customization options. Now, when your iPhone is on the charger and positioned in landscape orientation, it shows a unique interface with large-sized widgets.

As detailed by my 9to5Mac colleague Michael Potuck, there are several things you can do with StandBy mode. The default view shows a clock and calendar, but you can switch between the current date and your reminders, for example. And all the widgets are interactive. Swipe to the side, and StandBy shows a slide with your photos. There’s also a third screen with different watch faces.

It’s more than just a StandBy mode

The more I use StandBy mode on my iPhone running iOS 17 beta, the more I’m amazed at the capabilities of this feature. Apple didn’t just put some widgets and photo slideshows in it. In fact, some apps have been tweaked to work with StandBy mode.

For example, when music is playing, you’ll see the media controls take up the full screen. If you get a notification, it shows up with a nice animation, similar to what you have on the Apple Watch. But it doesn’t stop there. When someone calls you, iOS 17’s StandBy mode shows the call controls such as mute, speaker, and end call.

iOS 17's StandBy mode feels like an experiment for a new home-focused device

Even Live Activities work with this mode allowing you to see them in fullscreen. The potential for such a feature is huge. And that’s why I think Apple is building this not for the iPhone but with something else in mind.

A new home accessory from Apple

There are multiple rumors about Apple working to expand its presence in the home accessories market. The company already has the HomePod and the HomePod mini, but they’re just smart speakers. Meanwhile, HomeKit lets users control a range of smart home accessories from their Apple devices.

Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Apple has been exploring different product ideas to drive its smart home ecosystem. This includes an iPad-like device that can be mounted on walls to control HomeKit accessories, play videos, and handle FaceTime calls.

Another more ambitious device being tested internally at Apple is a device that combines the functionality of the iPad, Apple TV, and HomePod. The idea would be similar to the Amazon Echo Show, which is essentially a tablet attached to a speaker with a custom interface for quick interactions.

Now, seeing StandBy mode in action with iOS 17, I can vividly imagine a device like the Amazon Echo Show running this interface. And honestly, that would be an instant buy for me.

More about iOS 17

The first beta of iOS 17 is now available to developers. Apple says a public beta will be available this summer, while the official release is expected this fall. More details on how to install the beta update can be found on the Apple Developer website.

What do you think of StandBy mode? Would you like to see a new device dedicated to it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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