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iOS 17: Here’s What to Expect from Apple’s New Firmware Update

Apple enthusiasts eagerly await the next update to their beloved iOS operating system, despite Apple’s ongoing efforts to enhance the current iOS 16. Although iOS 17 remains unannounced, rumors are circulating about potential features and iPhone models that will receive this highly anticipated update.

With just a few months until the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in 2023, where Apple typically unveils its latest software offerings, leaks from industry insiders have already surfaced, providing a glimpse into what may lie ahead. However, it’s important to approach these rumors with skepticism as they haven’t been officially confirmed by Apple.

iOS 17: Smart Display-like Lock Screen

Rumors suggest that Apple will introduce a revamped lock screen interface in iOS 17, resembling smart displays. This feature would provide a new view with calendar appointments, weather information, and smart home notifications, similar to Amazon’s Echo Show and Google’s Nest Hub. The interface would activate when the phone is placed on a charging stand in landscape orientation, eliminating the need for a dedicated smart display.

New Accessibility Features

In commemoration of World Accessibility Awareness Day (WAAD), Apple has officially announced several accessibility features scheduled to debut in iOS in 2023, likely coinciding with the release of iOS 17. These features include improved support for users with cognitive disabilities, such as high contrast and large text buttons. Additionally, live speech functionality will transform text inputs into audio during calls. Furthermore, a feature to create a personalized synthesized voice is linked with the new update, allowing users to clone their voice with generative AI. These features aim to enhance the experience for users with disabilities and those seeking greater customization across Apple’s operating systems.

Find My Privacy Updates

Apple plans to implement changes in its AirTags trackers to prevent potential misuse, such as stalking. Collaborating with Google, Apple will introduce features that warn users when they are being tracked by an unauthorized device. While specific details have not yet been disclosed, improvements to the Find My service are anticipated.

Updated Design for Control Center

Reports suggest that the Control Center, which has seen few changes since its inception, will receive a design overhaul in iOS 17. While specifics remain undisclosed, sources indicate that the redesigned Control Center may adopt visual cues from the lock screen, potentially including updated icons and styles.

Dropping Support for Older iPhones

Apple is known for its extended software support for older devices, but it’s inevitable that some models will eventually lose compatibility. With iOS 16 discontinuing support for the first-generation iPhone SE, rumors indicate that the first notched iPhone models may also be excluded in iOS 17. Reports suggest that devices equipped with the A11 Bionic processor, such as the iPhone X and iPhone 8 models, may not receive the update due to security concerns.

No More Free Developer Beta Installs for Regular Users

Apple recently closed the loophole that allowed iPhone owners to install beta versions of the operating system using configuration profile files. Starting with the iOS 16.4 update, only developers enrolled in the Apple Developer Program (ADP) will have access to developer beta OS versions. This change requires an annual fee of $99 for ADP membership, streamlining the installation process for iPhone users on iOS 16.4, as beta updates can now be accessed through the Settings app.

Alternative App Stores

Rumors suggest that a future update within iOS 17, possibly iOS 17.1, may allow users to sideload apps, similar to Android devices. This change may be a response to proposed regulations by the European Union, which would require closed systems to permit third-party app stores. However, it remains unclear whether this change will exclusively apply to EU countries or extend to the United States. Official announcements regarding this potential modification might occur during the WWDC 2023.

Next-Generation CarPlay

During last year’s WWDC, Apple teased a revolutionary in-car infotainment feature referred to as CarPlay. This update aims to integrate Apple’s car interface with various car models, effectively taking over the entire dashboard. Delayed due to component shortages, the new CarPlay is expected to launch by the end of 2023 in collaboration with Audi, Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche, and many other car manufacturers. However, concerns have been raised about potential distractions and reduced tactile feedback while driving due to the introduction of a seamless “all glass” interface.

AR/XR Headset Support

Apple is poised to enter the world of augmented and extended reality (AR/XR) with its rumored headset, potentially named “iGlass” or “Reality Pro.” Support for the device is anticipated to be integrated into the iOS 17 mobile operating system, following a similar path taken with devices like AirPods, Apple Watch, and AirTags. The first Apple headset is expected to be announced in spring 2023, with app development during WWDC, leading to a product launch alongside the new iPhone in the fall.

Revamped Messages App

Noted leaker Majin Bu suggests that the Messages app will undergo a complete facelift in 2023 with the release of iOS 17. The redesigned app is rumored to include a new home screen, video clips, chat rooms, and potential support for chat features in augmented reality (AR). These features align with the speculated launch of AR glasses in 2023.

iOS 17 Release Date

Following its established pattern, Apple is expected to unveil iOS 17 during the WWDC at its Cupertino headquarters on June 5, 2023. The conference serves as the platform for the initial announcement and release of the developer beta version. Subsequently, Apple will release a series of beta updates leading to the stable iOS 17 version, traditionally launching in September. This release aligns with the expected availability of the yet-to-be-announced iPhone 15 model.

Supported iPhone Models

While Apple hasn’t provided official details about dropping support for specific iPhone models in the new update, speculation has arisen due to the company’s historical inconsistency in this regard. However, it’s worth noting that Apple has never dropped support for multiple system-on-a-chip (SoC) models in consecutive iOS versions. Therefore, it’s likely that iOS 17 will continue to support iPhone models from the iPhone 8 to the forthcoming iPhone 15. In the worst-case scenario, iOS 17 may drop support for the A11 chip, resulting in the exclusion of iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X from the list. Consequently, the iPhone XS and iPhone XR models would be the oldest devices supported by iOS 17.

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