Apple Inc. is preparing to introduce a new interface for iPhones in its iOS 17 software update. This interface will display information such as calendar appointments, weather updates, and notifications in a manner similar to smart-home displays. When the iPhone is locked and positioned horizontally, the interface will appear, making the device more useful when placed on a desk or nightstand. The move is part of Apple’s broader strategy to incorporate live information into various aspects of its software, including the Apple Watch. The iOS 17 update, codenamed Dawn, is set to be released later in 2023, and Apple plans to unveil it at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June alongside its mixed-reality headset.
The new iPhone interface shares similarities with a feature introduced in a basic form on the Android operating system in 2019. Amazon has also provided a similar option on its tablets, creating an interface resembling its Echo Show smart-home devices. The Apple interface will utilize a dark background with bright text for improved readability. It builds upon the introduction of lock screen widgets in iOS 16, allowing users to view snippets of information below the time on their screen vertically.
While Apple is making progress with a new horizontal interface for the iPad, significant changes for that device have been slower to materialize. The iPhone’s lock screen from iOS 16 is not yet available on iPads, and home screen widgets, introduced in iOS 14, only arrived on iPads with iPadOS 15.
Apple is exploring additional ways to transform its devices into smart-home displays. This includes the development of a low-cost tablet that can magnetically attach to walls and stands, serving as a control center for thermostats, lights, video playback, and FaceTime chats.
In addition to the new interface, iOS 17 will bring significant changes to the iPhone’s Wallet app and enhancements to its location services. Apple is introducing a journaling app for note-taking with social elements. Health-related updates include features for mood logging and addressing weak vision, as well as the expansion of the Health app to the iPad. Upgrades to SharePlay, which enables collaborative FaceTime usage within apps, and AirPlay, which allows content streaming to TVs and speakers, are also being developed, with Apple aiming to simplify the process of beaming video and audio to devices not owned by users.