Readers like you help support Pocket-lint. When you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read More.

Last year's iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max brought the always-on display experience to the Apple audience for the first time in series history, long after Android devices. From a distance, you wouldn't think an always-on display would have much in common with a smart display or smart home tablet. But it seems like the company may be working on a feature for iOS 17 that could be coming from or parlaying off of a larger hardware project.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, a veteran on the Apple beat, is reporting that among the changes that might make it onto the long list for iOS 17 this autumn - along with new iPhones, of course - is a big update to the existing always-on display feature.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max review: Biggest and best iPhone? photo 15

Currently, when the always-on display feature is activated, device owners will see only the date and time lit brightly. The rest of the lock screen is dimmed, though in actuality, some users - including my Android Police colleague Will Sattelberg - report it looking too bright and colourful to call it dim. Lock screen widgets, which also came with iOS 16, still appear in their normal place and size on the always-on display, as do notifications when they pop up from the bottom of the screen (and obscure those widgets).

Apple is reportedly developing a new feature for iOS 17, however, that sounds like it would turn the iPhone's always-on display into something more like an Echo Show from Amazon or, more pertinently, a Pixel phone on Google's Pixel Stand. This will show weather, calendar events, and notifications on a dark background with bright text when the phone is locked and in landscape mode. A design like this would make information slightly easier to read from a nightstand than with the existing always-on display.

One defining feature of these interfaces that appear on around-the-house smart tablets is the ability to quickly toggle appliances on and off with a tap or swipe. While phone displays have grown in size from under four inches to nearly 7 inches, their interfaces usually keep smart home controls at least a couple more taps or swipes away from the lock screen - not exactly the easiest reach if the device is tethered to a charger or even a dock.

Pixel 7 Pro review photo 13

Interestingly, the same report also claims Apple is developing a proper smart home tablet that might attach to a dock or a wall with magnets, something for which this better always-on display is suited for. Development-wise, the new "nightstand interface" for the iPhone actually sounds more like an off-shoot coming out of this hardware. Of course, Apple could do some of its iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max owners a favor and just adapt the darker always-on display design for the existing AOD experience.

What else is Apple working on lately?


Apple is also working on a new social journaling app will make its debut with iOS 17, and the Apple Health suite is expected to gain features covering mood and vision. The app itself is said to make its first appearance on the iPad, too. As for avid AirPlay and SharePlay users, you may be able to connect your iPhone to a speaker or TV at businesses.

We could see previews for some or all of these rumoured developments at WWDC on 5 June.