How iOS 16 and Android 13 could change the future of smartphones
This story is partCNET’s full coverage from and about Apple’s annual developer conference.
Your smartphone will soon be even more intertwined with the non-digital aspects of your life. This is one of the main lessons ofand , new mobile software updates coming later this year from Apple and Google. The two tech giants want to turn your phone into a digital wallet to store your legal ID and other essential documents, bringing your phone closer to your identity than ever before. Companies are also continuing to improve the way phones communicate with cars, smart home gadgets and other everyday devices.
Bothand are filled with changes and new features, some of which are more important than digital wallets and faster logins (like for the protection of victims of domestic violence and new privacy updates from Google). But the overlap between the two operating systems highlights the changing role of the phone in our lives. According to the latest announcements from Apple and Google, what around your phone will be just as important as what’s going on on your phone.
The more closely our phones are tied to everyday essentials like wallets, credit cards, cars, and home appliances, the harder it will be to walk away from them (or switch between iPhone and Android). The concept is not new; the industry has been moving in this direction for years. But the changes in iOS 16 and Android 13 bring significant improvements to Apple’s and Google’s respective approaches that will likely speed up those efforts.
Physical Wallet Replacement
The digital wallet was front and center during Apple’s iOS 16 announcement and Google’s Android 13 preview. most significantis a new option called , which divides the cost of a purchase into four equal installments over six weeks. With iOS 16, ID cards stored in Apple Wallet can also be used to verify your age in apps. The addition comes after Apple first added support for digital IDs last year.
Google, meanwhile, detailed a major overhaul ofduring his I/O conference last month which briefed him on Apple. The new Google Wallet will store personal documents such as payment and transit cards, vaccination records, boarding passes and student IDs, much like Apple Wallet. Google is also working with government agencies to support digital IDs.
Together, the updates from Apple and Google represent another step towards their shared goal of making physical wallets obsolete – a change that will inevitably make us even more dependent on mobile devices.
Google reiterated this ambition just before detailing the new updates onin May.
“In fact these days, there are only two things I don’t leave home without: my phone and my wallet,” Sameer Samat, VP of Product Management, said on stage. Android and Google Play. “So the question is, can my phone replace my wallet?”
Corey Fugman, Apple’s senior director for Wallet and Apple Pay, made similar remarks during WWDC’s keynote on Monday.
“With Apple Wallet, we’re working hard on our goal of replacing your physical wallet,” he said.
People have already embraced the idea of replacing physical credit cards with smartphone-based payment apps. Use of in-store mobile payment systems like Apple Pay is expected to exceed 50% of all smartphone users in the United States by 2025, according to a 2021 report from eMarketer. Apple’s new Pay Later option and Google’s renewed focus on its own mobile wallet might make the idea of leaving your physical wallet at home even more appealing.
Your phone, everywhere
Replacing the wallet is just one of the ways Apple and Google hope to make our phones more useful offline in everyday life. Both companies have also introduced camera-based smartphone tools that could make it easier to navigate real-world points of interest. Another important theme is the increased interconnectivity between mobile devices and home appliances, cars and speakers.
Both Apple and Google believe the camera will continue to play an important role in how we interact with the world around us. In iOS 16, you’ll be able to translate text into different languages using a new camera option in Apple’s Translate app. During his, the company demonstrated how it could be used to translate a restaurant’s entire menu into another language. You’ll also be able to track a flight or convert currencies just by tapping text on a photo.
Google has shown an ambitiouscalled “scene explorer” at Google I/O, which essentially applies its search prowess to the real world. You wave your phone’s camera over a shelf of products, and it overlays information and ratings onscreen to help you find the right choice. Google search manager Prabhakar Raghavan cited the ability to find nut-free snacks or fragrance-free lotion in a brick-and-mortar retail store as an example.
The execution may be different, but the concept is similar. We are already used to ordering food, taxis and household essentials at the push of a button on our phones. Now Apple and Google want to make our phones a vital part of doing those tasks in the real world too, and the camera will be a big part of that.
Google and Apple have also refined their respective visions to turn our phone into a connection hub for other devices around us. Google explained howwould improve your phone’s connection to other devices with support for quick pairing, automatic audio switching between devices, and the ability to more easily sync messages between your phone and computer. He also revealed this should make multitasking easier when you’re on the road.
Apple has simplified the process of managing HomeKit devices with a redesigned Home app for the iPhone. But perhaps the biggest area where Apple plans to expand the iPhone’s reach is in the car. The company teasedthat looks like a full automotive operating system, with app icons, widgets, and other UI elements reminiscent of the iPhone and .
The smart home and the connected car are not new. They have both been an integral part of Apple’s and Google’s respective strategies for years. But iOS 16 and Android 13 clarify how Apple and Google’s visions for these devices should communicate and interact.
As the smartphone becomes the link to everything from your credit card to your thermostat and your car, Apple and Google are customizing its aesthetic. When iOS 16 launches this fall, your iPhone will getwith support for Apple Watch-esque widgets and new photo effects for background images. Google is expanding its Material You with predefined color sets that can be applied across the entire operating system.
iOS 16 and Android 13 offer more than new wallet features, camera tools for scanning real-world objects, and improved connectivity. These updates not only signal how essential the phone is becoming to our online and offline lives, but they also indicate the direction the industry will take.