What gives this rumor more credence than others is the fact it comes from notable industry insider Mark Gurman from Bloomberg. He claims in a recent report that Apple is looking for a way to “make iPhones more useful when they’re [sitting] on a person’s desk or nightstand.” The tech is reportedly based on the customizable lock screen from iOS 16 which allows “users “to see small snippets of information”.
Beyond that, not much else is known. Gurman’s anonymous sources state the iOS 17 features function similar to Amazon’s Echo Show displays and it’ll utilize a “dark background with bright text” similar to the Apple Watch's Nightstand Mode.
Smart home expansion
It's been known for a while now the company has been working on growing the smart home side of its business. All the way back in January of this year, rumors were floating around stating the tech giant is planning to launch a low-end iPad as the company’s first official smart home controller. Gurman’s report states it’s been “designed to control things like thermostats” and house lights, as well as “show video”.
It's hard to say whether or not Apple wants the iPhone to play a bigger role in its smart home plans. Sure, a smart display is useful for displaying basic information, but there has to be more to it than that. And we can't help but wonder how this will affect the Matter standard.
The protocol is in dire need of some support, after all. Matter 1.1 recently launched, and what was supposed to be a major upgrade, but without more device-type support, it's a little underwhelming. Looking at Gurman’s leaks, there isn’t a single word about Matter, which is rather concerning.
Either way, mum's the word for now. Gurman states that “an Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on [the company's] plans for iOS 17.”
A peek at the future
As for the rest of the report, it mostly consists of previously seen leaks like watchOS 10 getting widgets as part of a major revamp and the world premiere of the company’s VR headset. Some of the more interesting tidbits, however, include “significant changes to the iPhone’s Wallet app” plus an AirPlay upgrade “to make it easier for users to beam [content] to devices they don’t own.” Apparently, Apple spoke to some hotels “that offer TVs and speakers” to make the latter possible.
Be sure to stay tuned for our coverage of WWDC 2023. We do expect to see the official reveal of iOS 17.
Windows 11 users who have an iPhone will be pleased to know that they can now benefit from Phone Link for iOS, as the feature has finished rolling out to the entire user base.
Microsoft began the rollout a few weeks back, noting that it would take some time, but the company has just updated the announcement blog post to let us know that it’s now out for everyone who wants a piece of the action.
Microsoft said: “We are pleased to announce that Phone Link for iOS is now available to all Windows 11 customers.”
If you want to install Phone Link for iOS, just search for the app (in the Windows 11 taskbar, search box), and fire it up – you’ll then see the option to install it for iPhone (as well as Android, of course).
Analysis: Bang on time
Phone Link has long been available for Android, and it has been a very long wait for iPhone owners to get their own take on the app. Still, it’s here now, and fully rolled out on schedule.
That’s good news, as it seems Microsoft hasn’t run into any major bugs with the feature to hold things up. That’s always a possibility with any new piece of functionality, of course, but Microsoft specifically said it was taking a conservative and slow approach to the rollout here, which hinted at a degree of trepidation. There was no need to worry, though, it seems.
It is worth noting that Phone Link for iOS is more limited than its Android sibling. With the iPhone version, you only get the basics of receiving calls and messages through to the desktop, as well as notifications. But there is also iMessage support, too, which is a major boon, albeit that experience is limited too (there’s no message history, for example).
Even so, when you’re working at your PC and don’t want to keep looking at your iPhone, Phone Link represents a really convenient way of fielding all the basics and engaging somewhat with iMessage.
Windows 11 has just introduced Phone Link support for iOS, which has now rolled out to everyone – but we’re hearing a warning that iPhone owners could be spied upon by somebody leveraging a flaw allowing for misuse of the app.
Phone Link has been around for Android for ages, and allows messages, notifications, and much more to be piped through to a Windows 11 PC, so you can deal with them there on the desktop without even picking up your smartphone.
So, its introduction to iOS is a definite boon for iPhone users – even if it’s a more limited set of features than Android – but the problem is that cyber-stalkers could abuse the functionality due to the way Phone Link has been implemented for Apple handsets.
Certo Software, a mobile security outfit, reports that several of its users have said they’ve been spied upon using Phone Link for iOS.
How does this work? Certo explains (via Apple Insider) the process in a news post, though the key thing to note is that to compromise an individual, the cyber-stalker needs physical access to the victim’s iPhone.
If the attacker can get that – and knows the passcode for the device – it’s an easy enough matter to set up Phone Link on their own Windows PC. Certo doesn’t detail the exact steps, so as not to give would-be abusers that information, but observes that it involves scanning a QR code on the PC monitor with the victim’s iPhone in order to setup a Bluetooth connection.
Once that’s done and Phone Link is set up, then things like phone call history, iMessages, and the content of any notifications can be viewed on that PC, with the iPhone owner unaware that any of their data is being compromised in this manner.
Certo notes that “cyberstalkers seem to be rapidly exploiting this new feature” and that this is obviously worrying.
Analysis: What can be done?
This is particularly concerning as it could be leveraged in scenarios where, for example, an abusive partner might use this. They’d be able to view all messages and notifications, and engage in some quite in-depth spying on their victim, all without their partner’s knowledge.
If you own an iPhone and are now feeling concerned, Certo explains there are several actions you can take to check that you’re not being spied on in this way. Firstly, if you don’t ever use Bluetooth, check to make sure it’s turned off – without that wireless connection enabled, there can be no communication with the linked Windows PC.
Alternatively, you can look at what devices have been hooked up to your iPhone’s Bluetooth, and delete any you don’t recognize. To do that, head into Settings, and navigate to Bluetooth > My Devices. If you see any devices that you’re not sure about, or don’t know what they are, you can use ‘Forget This Device’ to remove them from your iPhone (thereby cutting the link).
Finally, it obviously helps if no one else knows your iPhone passcode to unlock it to gain access – if they do, or you think they might, then change it, and don’t share the passcode with anyone at all (after you’ve completed the above Bluetooth housekeeping).
Certo further warns: “As with previous loopholes in iPhone security, it may not be long before spyware makers start creating tools that make use of this method to extract even more information from victim’s iPhones.”
We don’t know how widely this method might’ve been exploited thus far, as the suggestion seems to be it’s just a scattering of reports, with the potential for things to get worse.
Hopefully, both Microsoft and Apple will be looking into this right now, to ensure that doesn’t happen, and to take any extra measures necessary to defend the privacy of iPhone users. One of Certo’s suggestions is for Apple to bring in some kind of visual warning indicator in iOS when notifications or messages are being shared with another device via Bluetooth.
Siri’s 11-year reign may be drawing to a close as a new generative AI rival called Perplexity has just landed on the Apple App Store.
Note that Perplexity is not based on ChatGPT and has its own AI. However, it does function in a similar manner to ChatGPT. You ask it a question, like who designed the Golden Gate Bridge, and it’ll churn out a response in a few seconds. From there, you can either type in a follow-up question, use the voice command feature to verbally ask questions, or choose one from the generated selection. Responses can then be shared via a messaging app or social media platform. It’ll even save “your thread history so you can pick up where you left off,” according to the App Store listing. But unlike ChatGPT, Perplexity actually provides the sources it used to generate content. Underneath, you will see citations from Wikipedia, local news sites, and national newspapers like NPR accompanied by a brief piece of text providing context.
To use Perplexity, you will need an iPhone supporting iOS 16 or later to install the app or an M1 Mac sporting macOS 13.0 or later.
As for an Android version, it doesn’t appear the developers behind Perplexity have any plans to make one at the time of this writing. We reached out to the team via the official PerplexityAI Discord channel, but haven’t heard back yet. The closest thing you can do is use the AI through a web browser on your Android device or Windows computer. There’s also a Chrome extension available if you prefer more direct access.
So we can’t help but wonder what’s cooking behind the scenes at Apple Inc. The company has been suspiciously quiet, allowing the likes of ChatGPT to roam on its platform unfettered as third-party apps. It's unlike Apple to just leave this new trend in the tech industry alone so it must be up to something. The closest indication we currently have is Apple enacting some new rules on its App Store for generative AI. According to a report by CNBC, it recently rejected an update to the BlueMail app due to concerns about the software’s ChatGPT feature not including a filter to protect minors from inappropriate content.
The date for Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference 2023 has been set for June 5. We’re looking forward to seeing what changes, if any, Siri may get. It'll be interesting to see if the long-standing virtual assistant will get a revamp allowing it to go toe-to-toe with its newfound rivals or be thrown out for a brand new AI model.
Windows 11 has just been graced with a big update, albeit not a full feature update, but one of Microsoft’s so-called ‘Moment’ upgrades.
Moment 2 to be precise, and if that sounds familiar, that’s because Microsoft released it in testing (as an optional update) at the end of February. Now, however, it has arrived as a full release, which means it’s coming to all Windows 11 PCs as we type this.
If you haven’t already been offered what is formally known as patch KB5023706, then you can head to Windows Update and check for new updates, whereupon you should see Moment 2 ready to roll.
The update introduces a raft of new features, including improvements for those using Windows 11 with a touchscreen (a touch-optimized taskbar). Another big move is Phone Link for iOS, giving iPhone owners the ability to hook up their handset to the desktop (giving access to iMessage correspondence from their PC).
Windows 11 will now provide energy efficiency recommendations and additional help when troubleshooting issues with your PC (via ‘Quick Assist’). On top of that, the system tray has been given a fresh lick of paint in the form of a rounded focus (rather than square, when mousing over icons bottom-right, to be more in keeping with the rest of Windows 11’s modern look).
Accessibility features have also been improved, most notably with enhanced support for braille devices, and Voice Access getting new commands.
As well as all the feature additions, KB5023706 comes boasting the usual slew of security fixes provided by Microsoft with these monthly cumulative updates.
Analysis: Plenty of features and hopefully no bugs
So, all the testing of the preview version of the Moment 2 update is now done and dusted, and with no major bugbears sighted, everything should go smoothly with the upgrade now it has become available – in theory. Of course, when a much wider rollout happens, with a lot more PCs involved, fresh bugs can still make their unwelcome presence felt.
Another thing you might also recall is when Microsoft revealed the preview version of Moment 2, the company talked about the ChatGPT-powered Bing being put on the taskbar, giving us the impression that this was a full integration of the AI chatbot with the Windows 11 interface.
As we’ve discussed in the past, though, this wasn’t the case – the implementation of this ‘feature’ (ahem) was simply a link in the search box that brought up Bing in the Edge browser.
Users were pretty disappointed about that, and the Bing icon swiftly vanished, with Microsoft subsequently assuring us that the chatbot hadn’t been ditched from the taskbar, but was in a rotation with other search highlights. And wouldn’t you know, just as Moment 2 is rolling out, we can now see the Bing icon in our search box once again (doubtless just temporarily, though). Interesting timing…
In a press release, Amit Sagiv and Volodymyr Tsukur, Co-Heads of Wix Payments, said: “We’re constantly evolving our solutions to help users efficiently grow both their online and offline sales.”
“Tap to Pay on iPhone offers merchants a reliable and secure payment option to increase customer touchpoints and deliver new in-person experiences, ultimately optimizing their multichannel strategy and increasing the monetization of their offline sales.”
“Our partnership with Stripe gives merchants the ultimate flexibility to sell anytime, anywhere – whether in-store or on the go, at their own convenience to never miss a sale.”
In addition to Wix, Tap to Pay on iPhone is supported by payment platforms Square, Adyen, and Stripe.
“Tap to Pay on iPhone lets merchants accept and process contactless payments in seconds without additional hardware,” said John Affaki, Terminal Business Lead at Stripe.
“Wix merchants and their customers can use Tap to Pay on iPhone anywhere knowing they’re completing fast and secure payment transactions using iPhone.”
Apple users are set to get a welcome productivity boost when it comes to using Microsoft Teams on their mobile or tablet device.
The video conferencing platform has revealed it is working on bringing Picture in Picture mode to iPhone and iPad users, letting them view multiple windows at once on their device.
This could mean users are able to carry out a video call on their device whilst consulting a useful document or presentation at the same time, without the need to switch between apps and potentially drop their call.
Microsoft Teams Picture in Picture for iOS
In the official Microsoft 365 roadmap entry for the update, the company notes that, “the new Picture in Picture mode lets you see your meeting in an adjustable window while using other apps on your mobile device.”
The feature is still listed as being “in development”, but has an expected availability date of December 2022, meaning users shouldn't have too long to wait. When released, it will be available to all iOS users of Microsoft Teams across the globe.
However, far from just being a distraction, Microsoft claims that interaction through play is designed to tackle some of the greatest challenges of the hybrid workplace, including “struggling to build trust, create connections, and improve team morale.”
It also recently revealed that transcription for 1:1 calls and group calls is now available on the Microsoft Teams app for Android, giving users the chance to review exactly what was said, or if any details were missed.
Users will also be able to start transcription for meetings on Microsoft Teams for iOS and Android, as well as being able to view the meeting transcripts after their calls have finished.
Apple’s iOS has come a long way from its iPhoneOS starting point, and all of the best iPhones have built on the operating system’s initial promise. Steve Jobs demonstrated the power of the iPhone in 2007 with a huge on-stage Starbucks order, and the platform has grown year after year with each update adding new features.
Multitasking, the notification and Control Center, and even the App Store, were all added to the iPhone after its first iteration, and that rapid pace of innovation can make it hard to keep up with new features.
With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of useful features you may have missed. Some are accessibility options, some need to be enabled, and others are just waiting to be used. All of them, though, will make your iPhone experience better.
1. Use a cursor to select text
Texting is a way of life, but it’s still surprisingly cumbersome even at the best of times. If you’ve ever had an errant word added by autocorrect but not spotted it until you’ve written a few dozen words more, this tip is for you.
Sure, you can hold your finger to the text to jump to it, but this can occasionally lead to highlighting an entire word or sentence. For more granular control, we’d recommend the following:
Hold your finger or thumb at the bottom of your screen, underneath the keyboard.
This will grey out the keyboard, and turn it into a trackpad until you raise your finger or thumb.
Hey presto, easy text selection!
2. Create text snippets
Text snippets are popular for macOS power users, but you can achieve the same result with your iPhone. Better yet, it doesn’t require any third-party software.
Text snippets are ideal shortcuts for copying in certain phrases you’ve pre-registered. If you’re dealing with a client via iMessage, for example, you may want to send a standardized response. With text replacement, you can create a block of text to be posted whenever you type a phrase.
Open Settings, then head to General, then Keyboard.
Pick Text Replacement and you’ll be able to create new replacements, and the words required to trigger them.
In our example, you can see that typing 'omw' brings up 'On my way!', but there are plenty of places where this would be useful. You can also set emoji to appear when you type, which feels pleasantly nostalgic in a way you just don’t get from the emoji picker.
3. Enable the scientific calculator
The iPad may not feature a calculator, but the iPhone does. The trouble is, it can feel a tad limiting outside of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – at least until you find a new perspective.
Turning your iPhone to the side with the calculator app open will enable the scientific calculator. This adds brackets, square roots, cos/sin/tan options, and the ever-handy π command, among plenty of others.
4. Enable an additional ‘button’
While intended as an accessibility feature, the iPhone’s ‘back tap’ button is handy for power users looking for additional input for their device.
Go to Settings, then Accessibility, then Touch.
Select Back Tap and you’ll be presented with plenty of options.
You can use this in a number of ways, such as triggering the App Switcher, snapping a quick screenshot, or opening Spotlight search from anywhere on your device. There are also double and triple tap options, meaning you can set multiple functions for it.
5. Use your camera’s 'Burst Mode'
Your iPhone’s camera is plenty powerful enough, but there’s one trick you may have missed: Burst Mode. Burst mode, as the name suggests, takes a series of rapid-fire images in one press which means your iPhone can capture a series of action shots.
It’s ideal for pets and excitable toddlers, letting you go back and look at your pictures after the event and pick out the best ones. It’s easy to access, too. Just slide the Shutter button (the one you use to take photos) to the left when you’re in the Camera app.
You can also head into Settings, then Camera, and toggle Use Volume Up for Burst to allow your volume rocker to trigger Burst mode – just hold it when you’re taking an image.
6. Scan documents using the camera
Your iPhone’s camera can double as a very respectable document scanner, and while Live Text means you can extract text from images, it’s entirely possible to digitize an entire document. Because it’s buried in the Notes app, though, you may not have spotted how to do it.
Open Notes, then tap the camera icon, then Scan Documents.
Highlight your document and it should automatically save. You can also manually take a scan with the shutter button.
Once the scan is saved, you can sign it, too, or just share it via any email or messaging app. It’s not got the same level of quality as a bespoke scanner, but it’s not far off, and will certainly do in a pinch.
One final camera trick, which is a little different. As an accessibility feature, you can trigger your iPhone’s camera flash to go off when you receive a notification, providing a more visual way of knowing someone is calling or messaging.
Head into Settings, then Accessibility.
In the Audio/Visual section there’s an option for ‘LED Flash for Alerts’.
You can also trigger it to only work when your phone is on silent, which is ideal if you’d prefer your phone not to vibrate on a desk.
8. Master Control Center
Introduced as part of iOS 7 all the way back in 2013, Control Center has moved from the bottom of the screen to the top as the years have gone by, and it has a lot more utility than you may be aware of.
While Apple doesn’t offer Force Touch these days, you can long-press on Control Center icons to get additional options.
Through this, you can enable Spatial Audio with compatible earphones, pick a Focus mode, get a better look at what’s playing on your audio app, or even go two layers deep – the quadrant with Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and mobile signal can be expanded to allow you to easily select a Wi-Fi access point, for example.
9. Recognize any song with Shazam in the Control Center
Remember Shazam? The music recognition service was purchased by Apple in 2018 and remains a great way to identify whatever song is playing – whether you’re in a store, at a party, or just missed the name on the radio.
While Shazam has an app, you can also add it to your iPhone’s Control Center for easy access.
Open Settings, then enter Control Center and tap the Plus button next to Music Recognition to add it.
Now, whenever you hear a great song playing, you can pull down from Control Center and hit the Shazam icon to find out what’s playing. If you’re on Apple Music, it’ll even give you the option to add the track to your library.
The latest update to the Twitter app has killed off support for iOS 12, with the latest version of the app now requiring iOS 14 or later in order to function – and that means users of the iPhone 6, which can’t be updated beyond iOS 12, can no longer access all of Twitter’s features.
While we can’t get hold of an iPhone 6 to see for ourselves, users across Twitter have been complaining about losing access to many features on their phones, following the update.
Without the option to upgrade beyond iOS 12, it’s plain to see why iPhone 6 users, along with owners of the iPad Air and 6th-generation iPod Touch, are a bit miffed about the Twitter app's latest requirement.
Users stuck on iOS 12 report that while they can still see tweets on their timeline, the rest of the app no longer functions correctly.
Thankfully for users who are still clinging to their iPhone 6, it is not a completely lost cause, as it is still possible to use Twitter on the device, as the web client still functions without issue, but it’s hardly a perfect solution/it’s no substitute for the full app experience.
Analysis: a shocking twist that was a long time coming
Although the loss of full app functionality has come as a shock to many iPhone 6 users, the demise of Twitter on iOS 12 has been a long time coming, as the social media giant officially dropped support for the nearly four-year-old operating system in early 2021.
Even after official support for the app stopped on iOS 12, iPhone 6 users were still able to enjoy the core functionality of the app, albeit without the new features of the latest versions.
Looking at the numbers though, it’s no surprise that Twitter will have wanted to scuttle the older version of the app. According to Apple, only 2% of iPhone users are still using a version of iOS that’s older than iOS 14, which makes maintaining an aging version of the Twitter app a largely worthless but nonetheless costly endeavor.
Regardless of the fact that this decision only affects 2% of Apple’s users who have stuck with their seven-year-old devices, it’s nevertheless a reminder that planned obsolescence is very much an issue that will come for all our devices eventually.