Don’t panic, iPhone users – Google Maps is still bringing Live Activities to your lock screen

Google announced around this time last year that it was working on the addition of Live Activities support to the Google Maps app for iPhone and iPads, and slated it for release later in 2023, but so far it still hasn’t been released. However, new assets found in the latest version in the app indicate that Google is still working on this feature, and the wait may soon be over.

The feature will display turn-by-turn directions on the Lock Screen and in the Dynamic Island of iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 15 series handsets, providing users with real-time ETAs, directions for driving, biking, walking, public transit, and more kinds of navigation. Users can look forward to all of that in easy-to-read live notifications without having to unlock their phones and opening the app. 

I wonder if this feature will also be present on iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro models’ Dynamic Islands, and would assume this would become standard for future iPhone models. It would also be nice to see a similar feature for Android devices (Dynamic Islands is a feature that’s exclusive to modern iPhones). 

Young woman using smartphone in Sydney

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A sign to keep your hopes up

A contributor at MacRumors, Aaron Perris, looked into the app’s assets after its most recent update, and found signs that users can remain hopeful that Google hasn’t given up adding these features to Google Maps on iPhone, despite the delay. 

This is reassuring, as while the new features were still in development as of August of last year, after that there were no strong indications that Google was pushing forward with it until now. MacRumours says that this recent discovery suggests that we might see the new feature soon. 

Apple has also opened up the Live Activities API for third-party iPhone app developers in iOS 16.1’s release. Developers have since made some handy apps and added some useful support features to existing apps, like DoorDash and United Airlines, thanks to the Live Activities API.

As an Android device user, I’m pretty jealous – this sounds like an awesome feature that makes it easier to get up and go, and stay on the move. It will make commuting with the help of your iPhone safer and more convenient, as well. I understand why iPhone users might be getting antsy after such a long delay and limited communication from Google, but it’s worth it for the Google Maps team to get it right.

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Panic over: Windows 10 users won’t be left out in the cold with Wi-Fi 7 after all

We’ve been hearing a lot about Wi-Fi 7, the next-gen wireless standard, of late, and one of the bits of chatter was worrying – namely that Windows 10 users may not get the benefit of these faster wireless speeds. Fortunately, we can now put paid to any notion that Windows 10 users will be left out in the cold.

This episode started a month ago when a leaked Intel document appeared on X (formerly Twitter), courtesy of one of the regular hardware leakers on that platform, and it omitted any mention of Windows 10 support for Wi-Fi 7. It listed support for Windows 11, Linux, and ChromeOS, but that was it.

Now, as we commented at the time, that didn’t necessarily mean that Windows 10 won’t support Wi-Fi 7, but it was certainly taken as a hint that the older OS may not, somehow.

The good news is that this isn’t the case, and we’ve now had confirmation – albeit an indirect confirmation – from Intel that Windows 10 PCs will be just fine to benefit from Wi-Fi 7.

Neowin reports that Intel has now listed a pair of Wi-Fi 7 modules on its official Ark product database – the Intel Wi-Fi 7 BE200 and Wi-Fi 7 BE202 – both of which are marked down as having Windows 11 and Windows 10 support (along with Linux, though ChromeOS is omitted with these product listings, oddly – again, we wouldn’t read too much into that either).


Analysis: Minor panic over, thankfully

So, if there was any panic for Windows 10 users – and there was a bit, for sure – they can now rest easy that when Wi-Fi 7 comes fully into play, they will be able to enjoy those much, much faster wireless speeds (compared to Wi-Fi 6, it’s in the order of a fivefold speed increase).

When will Wi-Fi 7 actually be usable? Well, it’s still relatively early days yet for the standard, and those first Intel modules won’t be in hardware for some time (and you’ll need not just client devices which support Wi-Fi 7, but of course one of the best wireless routers that does, as well). We’re looking at next year for the new wireless standard to be fully formed and certified, with supporting hardware to rollout following that in 2024.

There’s plenty to look forward to then, no matter what version of Windows you’re running.

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Windows 11 widget change could give you flashbacks to Windows Vista – but don’t panic

Windows 11 might be getting the ability to pin widgets to the desktop, and maybe sooner rather than later, as we’ve heard another nugget from the rumor mill to this effect.

Windows Latest tells us that it has seen documents that indicate Windows 11 will ‘soon’ introduce this feature, and that the ability will be present for third-party widgets (as well as Microsoft’s own efforts).

At the moment, Windows 11’s widgets are confined to their own panel (off the taskbar). With this feature, you’ll be able to stick your favorite widgets on the desktop, enabling you to see them and get at-a-glance info all the time, rather than having to dive into the widget panel.

This change has been rumored in the past via Zac Bowden, a respected source of Microsoft-related leaks, who has been claiming widgets will get a new home on the desktop – if you want to put them there – for quite some time now.

The most recent rumor from Bowden held that his sources within Microsoft have confirmed that it’s the software giant’s intention, at least currently, to eventually allow Windows 11 users to be able to pin widgets to the desktop.


Analysis: This isn’t invasion of the widgets

When the topic of widgets on the desktop comes up, you’ll likely be reminded of the gadgets that Windows 7 had – and indeed Windows Vista, going back much further in time. That gives the impression that Microsoft is really turning back the clock with this change, and that’s true to some extent – just remember that having widgets on the desktop isn’t compulsory.

The widget panel will remain in Windows 11, and if you want to use widgets only with that, just don’t move any of them onto the desktop. It’s as simple as that, so it’s not like with this change – if it happens – widgets will suddenly be invading the desktop.

Whether or not the functionality to pin widgets to the desktop is actually inbound is another question. However, it does seem more likely now we’re getting something of a rush of rumors from different sources. That indicates this is a change that might be in the pipeline soon, as Windows Latest asserts.

It also seems more likely to be a move in the cards because Microsoft has been doing a lot of work with widgets recently, making various tweaks, and expanding the size of the panel (in testing). Furthermore, Microsoft has been giving a lot of encouragement to software developers to make their own third-party widgets and bolster the overall ecosystem.

So, it appears to be an area the company is focusing on, trying to make it something bigger that plays more of a part in Windows 11 – a goal that would be furthered by the ability to have widgets on the desktop. With the puzzle pieces fitting together fairly neatly in this respect, we’d be surprised at this point if this wasn’t something that turns up in Windows 11 preview builds in the near future.

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