Apple is allegedly developing an innovative feature that will transform locked iPhones into smart home-inspired displays, a report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman suggests. Set to debut with iOS 17, the new feature is designed to enhance the functionality of idle iPhones by displaying vital information such as calendar events, notifications, and weather forecasts.

Similar to smart home devices from Google and Amazon, the proposed interface will be accessible when the iPhone is locked and laid horizontally. The feature aims to add value to iPhones that are not in active use, such as when resting on a desk or nightstand. A dark background with bright text will ensure enhanced readability from a distance.

This smart home-style display extension is expected to build upon Apple's lock screen widgets, introduced with iOS 16. These widgets currently allow users to access snippets of information like news and weather updates beneath the time on their lock screens.

While Gurman mentions a possible expansion of this feature to the iPad, he also notes that Apple tends to be slower in adopting new functionalities for the iPad compared to the iPhone. For instance, the lock screen widgets have not yet become available on iPad devices.

Alongside the smart home-style display, Gurman's report highlights planned improvements to the iPhone Wallet app and location services with iOS 17. Apple is also said to be working on a dedicated journaling app designed to help users document their thoughts. Additional updates to SharePlay, Apple's feature enabling users to stream content in sync with friends and family during FaceTime calls, are in the works.

Moreover, Gurman reports that Apple is in discussions with hotels to facilitate seamless streaming and sharing of content from Apple devices to Apple TV or compatible smart TVs via AirPlay, even when using devices that aren't the users' own. Updates to Apple's Health app, which are expected to include tools for tracking emotions and managing vision conditions like nearsightedness, are also anticipated.

Apple is anticipated to unveil the smart home-style display feature at its Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5, alongside the announcement of iOS 17, the new AR/VR headset, and the XrOS powering it. The conference is also expected to feature new Mac laptops and software.

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