Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is an annual event where the tech giant showcases its latest software updates and products. While this year’s conference may be dominated by the rumored announcement of a mixed reality headset, there’s still plenty to look forward to with iOS 17. Here’s what we can expect from the upcoming update.
Health and Wellness Features
Apple has been focused on health and wellness features for a while, and it’s expected to remain so with iOS 17. Apple is reportedly working on a journaling app that should allow users to log their thoughts and activities and analyze them to determine daily habits. There are also rumors of a mood tracker and a tool to treat vision disorders like myopia. These features could lay the groundwork for a coaching app for the Apple Watch, which is rumored to be announced later in the year.
Smart home display
Apple is reportedly working on an iPhone lock screen interface that works like a smart home display, similar to Google Next or Amazon Echo. Positioned horizontally, the UI would display information such as calendar appointments, weather, and notifications. There are also rumors of a control center overhaul, although no one else has confirmed this.
Revamped Apple Wallet
Apple Wallet is expected to receive updates in iOS 17, but the details are unclear. Apple has gone to great lengths to add financial services to its devices, so it would make sense that Wallet would garner some attention at WWDC. Apple Pay Later, which lets users pay for products in installments, launched in the US last March, and Tap to Pay, which allows transactions without the need for a payment terminal or card reader like Square, is coming later this year.
XR headset integration
Apple’s rumored “Reality Pro” XR headset is expected to be the headlining event of this year’s WWDC. The hardware will be paired with its own operating system, reportedly called xrOS, which will have an interface familiar to Apple users but with different methods of performing tasks. The headset can ostensibly be used as a standalone device, but can be connected to other Apple devices, such as an iPhone or Mac, for specific tasks. When Apple announces Reality Pro, it stands to reason that iOS 17 will come with some sort of xrOS integration.
In May, Apple previewed new accessibility features and features, including Assistive Access, Live Speech, and Detection Mode. These tools are designed to simplify the experience of Apple’s essential apps for people with cognitive disabilities, convert text to audio on live calls, and enlarge and read text and labels on objects for people who are blind or visually impaired. Apple said these tools would be available “later this year,” so we could hear more details on availability at WWDC.
Sideloading for developers
To comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, Apple must allow third-party apps to be downloaded outside of the App Store by 2024. Apple is reportedly planning to enable this practice, also called “sideloading,” with iOS 17. For developers, that means they won’t have to pay up to 30 percent commission just to be able to use their apps on Apple devices.
Other possible announcements
There are also rumors of new CarPlay updates supported by iOS 17, updates to Apple Music with lyrics on the lock screen, upgrades to SharePlay and easier AirPlay on devices you don’t own, meaning streaming content into Hotels.
In summary, while this year’s WWDC is focused on the rumored announcement of a mixed reality headset, there’s still a lot to look forward to with iOS 17. From health and wellness features to a revamped Apple Wallet and XR headset integration, Apple fans have a lot to get excited about.