No, we didn’t get a Smart Display during Apple’s WWDC keynote on Monday, but we did get a new iOS 17 feature that brings Smart Display-type features to the iPhone’s lock screen.
Rumored just weeks ago, but officially unveiled today, StandBy is an iOS 17 feature that turns on when your iPhone is locked, charging, and in landscape mode.
The mode is essentially an extension of the Lock Screen widgets that appeared on the iPhone last year with iOS 16, except that the widgets provided by StandBy offer a more “full-screen experience” like a smart display.
Widgets available in standby mode include watch faces, calendars, weather, Apple Music playback, and photos from the Photos app.
Most interesting for smart home users is the widget that shows the status of various HomeKit devices, such as smart bulbs and locks.
StandBy also supports Smart Stacks and Live Activities introduced with iOS 16, as well as incoming calls and Siri.
When StandBy is on, you can view the screen by tapping your iPhone screen, or the screen can be always on if you have an iPhone 14 Pro.
It is not clear how interactive the StandBy mode is. For its part, Apple says StandBy offers “visual information designed to be viewed from a distance,” as opposed to a true smart display with on-screen buttons you can tap.
Still, iOS 17’s StandBy is as close as we’ve seen to an actual Apple Smart Display, and if rumors are to be believed, it’s as close as we’ll get for a long time.