Apple’s annual conference for developers is just a few days away, and while there might not be much in the way of new hardware to fuss over, software is the big focus at WWDC anyway. This year will definitely put a lot of focus on macOS, which is still growing by leaps and bounds when it comes to adjusting to the new M1-centric world and the unification of Apple’s desktop and mobile platforms. In contrast, movement on the iOS side of things seems to have slowed down a bit, at least according to early tips and leaks. That’s not to say, however, that iOS 16 will be a boring release, and iPhone owners, in particular, might be looking forward to a little bit more battery life thanks to an improved lock screen experience.
Nothing is certain, of course, until Apple puts its cards on the table. Unlike Android, where plenty of development gets published to the public, there are no early drops for iOS, so we can only rely on hearsay, including some very credible sources. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, for example, doesn’t expect many major redesigns on iOS 16, at least not in the same vein as iOS 7. That said, there will still be some changes, as expected, and some that users on all devices will be able to appreciate.
For example, there will likely be improvements to the notification system and new features to the Health app (via 9to5Mac). There might even be major changes to the platform’s multitasking system, which may excite iPad owners. On the services side, Gurman was a bit ambiguous about the alleged “social network-like functionality” for Messages. What’s particularly interesting, however, is how iOS 16 could drastically change the game when it comes to the lock screen, which, in turn, could have big effects on battery life.
Lock screen AOD and widgets
Android phones have along been using some form of always-on display (AOD) functionality, and the Apple Watch does, as well. The idea behind this feature is that certain display panels can remain on even while using only a specific number of pixels. Because of this, you can display some information, like notifications or even the clock, without lighting up the whole screen. This can make the notification system on the lock screen more battery-efficient overall, even though having AOD does sip a bit of power while in use.
According to Gurman in his latest PowerOn newsletter emailed to subscribers, this feature should have been launched with the iPhone 13 last year with the switch to LTPO TFT LCD displays capable of variable refresh rates up to 120Hz. In theory, it would have been possible to dial that down to 0 Hz, but the iPhone 13 Pro only got as low as 10Hz. This year may finally make that happen, and the analyst expects the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max to feature the AOD lock screen feature.
Additionally, Gurman also claims the lock screen may have new wallpapers sporting “widget-like capabilities.” He hasn’t been more forthcoming with details about this, but the claim isn’t surprising given Apple’s newfound love for widgets. Of course, these widgets may cause a hit on battery life, but we’ll have to see how it will play out with the AOD feature also in place.