Leaks suggest iOS 17 could make your iPhone way more useful in the home

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2023 event is happening soon (June 5, 2023) and like clockwork, the leaks are popping up. The rumors this time suggest iOS 17 will have a new lock screen that will turn your iPhone into a sort of smart display.

What gives this rumor more credence than others is the fact it comes from notable industry insider Mark Gurman from Bloomberg. He claims in a recent report that Apple is looking for a way to “make iPhones more useful when they’re [sitting] on a person’s desk or nightstand.” The tech is reportedly based on the customizable lock screen from iOS 16 which allows “users “to see small snippets of information”.

Beyond that, not much else is known. Gurman’s anonymous sources state the iOS 17 features function similar to Amazon’s Echo Show displays and it’ll utilize a “dark background with bright text” similar to the Apple Watch's Nightstand Mode.

Smart home expansion

It's been known for a while now the company has been working on growing the smart home side of its business. All the way back in January of this year, rumors were floating around stating the tech giant is planning to launch a low-end iPad as the company’s first official smart home controller. Gurman’s report states it’s been “designed to control things like thermostats” and house lights, as well as “show video”.

It's hard to say whether or not Apple wants the iPhone to play a bigger role in its smart home plans. Sure, a smart display is useful for displaying basic information, but there has to be more to it than that. And we can't help but wonder how this will affect the Matter standard.

The protocol is in dire need of some support, after all. Matter 1.1 recently launched, and what was supposed to be a major upgrade, but without more device-type support, it's a little underwhelming. Looking at Gurman’s leaks, there isn’t a single word about Matter, which is rather concerning.

Either way, mum's the word for now.  Gurman states that “an Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on [the company's] plans for iOS 17.”

A peek at the future

As for the rest of the report, it mostly consists of previously seen leaks like watchOS 10 getting widgets as part of a major revamp and the world premiere of the company’s VR headset. Some of the more interesting tidbits, however, include “significant changes to the iPhone’s Wallet app” plus an AirPlay upgrade “to make it easier for users to beam [content] to devices they don’t own.” Apparently, Apple spoke to some hotels "that offer TVs and speakers" to make the latter possible.

Be sure to stay tuned for our coverage of WWDC 2023. We do expect to see the official reveal of iOS 17.

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