Wondering when Apple will finally unveil a smart display? It could be sooner than you think, albeit in an unexpected form factor.
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, a planned feature for the next version of iOS is a smart display-like mode that shows items such as calendar appointments, the weather, and other notifications on an iPhone’s lock screen when the handset is placed in landscape orientation.
Of course, iOS 16 already allows for lock-screen widgets (pictured above), including ones that are visible on the always-on displays of the latest iPhone Pro models. But what Gurman is describing for iOS 17 sounds more elaborate, akin to the smart home widgets shown on Amazon’s Echo Show and Google’s Nest Hub smart displays, not to mention Amazon’s Fire tablets.
The new iPhone mode would boast a “dark background with bright text” for better readability, and it will build on the concept of iOS 16’s lock-screen widgets, Gurman wrote.
All well and good, but if you’re waiting for a true smart display from Apple, don’t hold your breath.
There’s been a steady drip of reports that Apple is working on some type of tablet device, and in his most recent report, Gurman writes that a “low-cost tablet” is one of the ideas under consideration in Cupertino.
The device could be “magnetically attached to walls and stands” and would be able to control common smart-home devices such as lights, thermostats, and so on, but work on the tablet has been “slow going,” Gurman notes.
In other words, a smart home-style mode in iOS 17 might be as close as we get to an Apple smart display for a very long time.
Gurman’s report comes roughly a couple weeks after Google announced the Pixel Tablet, which comes with a magnetic dock that allows the tablet to double as a smart display.
The fabric-covered dock that comes with the $499 Pixel Tablet has an integrated speaker, while a series of magnets holds the tablet in place.
When docked, the Pixel Tablet enters a “hub mode” that serves up a panel with smart home controls, as well as a digital photo frame.
It’s a great concept, and one that doesn’t appear to be happening for the iPad, or at least not in the near future.