In a bid to revolutionize user interactions with iPhones, Apple Inc. plans to introduce an innovative interface that transforms locked iPhones into smart-home displays. This groundbreaking feature, part of the eagerly awaited iOS 17 software update, is set to redefine the traditional boundaries of smartphone functionality.

The new interface, designed to engage with users even when the device is idle, will display crucial live information, such as calendar appointments, weather updates, and notifications. The feature is expected to operate when the iPhone is locked and placed horizontally, much like the dedicated displays offered by tech giants Google and Amazon. By doing so, Apple aims to increase the utility of iPhones when idle, sitting on a desk or bedside table, for example.

The new interface forms part of a broader strategy to embed live information into more facets of Apple’s software, echoing the approach used in the Apple Watch’s interface. The iOS 17, codenamed Dawn, is set to be unveiled alongside Apple’s mixed-reality headset at the Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5, 2023.

Apple Watch Ultra

Drawing inspiration from the Android operating system, which introduced a similar, albeit more basic, feature in 2019, the new iPhone interface is also reminiscent of Amazon’s smart-home mode available on its tablets. This new feature’s design focuses on user accessibility, with a dark background and bright text to enhance readability.

Building on the success of lock screen widgets introduced with iOS 16, the new interface will allow users to view small snippets of information, like stock tickers, news, and temperature, on their horizontal lock screens. This innovative development seems to be a precursor for the changes anticipated in the iPad interfaces as well, although the company has been slower to make major changes to that device.

Additionally, Apple is reportedly exploring the smart-home space, with potential development of a low-cost tablet device that can be magnetically mounted to walls and stands. Serving as a central hub, this device could control thermostats, lights, display video, and even handle FaceTime chats.

As part of the iOS 17 update, Apple is also looking to revamp the iPhone’s Wallet app, introduce improvements to its location services, and debut a new journaling app that combines note-taking with a stronger social element.

Health is also on the agenda with the new software update. Users can expect novel features to log mood and manage weak vision. Moreover, Apple plans to expand the Health app to iPads. Enhancements are also expected for SharePlay and AirPlay, with ongoing discussions aimed at enabling users to stream video and audio to TVs and speakers at hotels and other public venues.

As Apple forges ahead with these new features, iOS 17 seems poised to usher in a new era of smartphone use and functionality, enabling the iPhone to be more than just a communication device, but a central hub for organizing and enhancing our daily lives.