iOS 16 and Android 13: What they say about the future of phones

    This story is part of iPhone 2022 spotlightCNET’s collection of news, tips, and advice around Apple’s most popular products.

    Smartphones have dominated our online lives for a while. The majority of internet traffic comes from mobile browsers, and the phone apps for iOS and Android are required for any online service. However, the latest updates for these operating systems – iOS 16 and Android 13 – shows how our phones can be more connected to our offline lives.

    The iOS 16 Updates will be announced at Apple’s “Far Out” event on September 7 and is scheduled to be released on September 16th. Meanwhile, Android 13 is available for Google Pixel devices on August 15. It will be rolled out to other compatible phones this fall.

    Both tech giants want to turn your phone into a digital wallet to store your legal IDs and other essential documents, bringing your phone closer to your identity than ever before. . Companies also continue to improve the way phones communicate with cars, smart home devices, and other everyday devices.

    Apple iOS 16 and by Google Android 13 filled with tweaks and new features, some of which are more important than digital wallets and faster connections (like Apple Safety Checker to protect domestic abuse victims and new Google privacy updates). But the overlap between the two operating systems underscores the changing role the phone plays in our lives. Based on Apple and Google updates, what’s happening around your phone will be as important as what’s happening above your phone.

    The more closely our phones are tied to everyday essentials like wallets, credit cards, cars, and home appliances, the harder it is to move away from them (or switch between iPhone and Android). This concept is not new; The industry has been moving in this direction for many years. But the changes in iOS 16 and Android 13 bring significant improvements to Apple and Google’s respective approaches, which will likely accelerate those efforts.

    Read more: Follow Apple’s “Far Out” event live blog for the latest iPhone 14 and iOS 16 news

    Replace physical wallet

    Simulate a Maryland digital driver's license on the phone screen

    Google is adding a digital driver’s license to Google Wallet.

    Google; screenshot of CNET

    Digital wallets were a big focus of both Apple’s iOS 16 announcement in June and Google’s Android 13 preview from May. changes when coming to Apple Pay is a new option called Apple Pay later, dividing the purchase cost into four equal installments over six weeks. With iOS 16, identification cards stored in Apple Wallet can also be used to verify your age in the app. This addition comes after Apple first added support for digital IDs last year.

    Meanwhile, Google detailed a major improvement to Its Wallet app in its I/O conference to speed things up with Apple. The new Google Wallet will store personal documents like payment and transit cards, immunization records, boarding passes, and student cards, just like Apple Wallet. Google is also working with government agencies to support digital ID.

    Taken together, Apple and Google’s updates represent another step towards their common goal of making physical wallets obsolete – a change that is sure to make us more and more convinced. more trust in mobile devices.

    Google reiterated this ambition when detailing the new updates at Google I/O in the May.

    “In fact, these days I can’t leave the house without: phone and wallet,” Sameer Samat, vice president of product management for Android and Google Play, said on stage. “So the question is, can my phone replace my wallet?”

    Corey Fugman, Apple’s senior director of Wallet and Apple Pay, made similar remarks during the WWDC 2022 keynote.

    “With Apple Wallet, we are working hard with the goal of replacing your physical wallet,” he said.

    People have embraced the idea of ​​replacing physical credit cards with smartphone-based payment apps. According to a 2021 report from eMarketer, the use of in-store mobile payment systems like Apple Pay is expected to surpass 50% of all smartphone users in the US by 2025. Apple’s new Pay Later and Google’s new focus on its own mobile wallet could make the concept of leaving your physical wallet at home even more appealing.

    Read more: What May 9 WatchOS reveals about the next Apple Watch

    Your phone is everywhere

    Looking at chocolate bar shelves through Google Search Explorer

    Google’s new visual search engine details products on crowded store shelves.

    Screenshots by Stephen Shankland / CNET

    Replacing wallets is just one way Apple and Google hope to make our phones more useful offline in our daily lives. Both companies are also introducing camera-based smartphone tools that can make navigating real-world points of interest easier. Another prominent theme is the increase in interaction between mobile devices and home appliances, cars and speakers.

    Both Apple and Google believe that cameras 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. In its time WWDC Keynote Presentation, the company has demonstrated how this can be used to translate entire restaurant menus into another language. You’ll also be able to track flights or convert currencies just by tapping on the text in the photo.

    Google has shown an ambition expand its Lens app called a “scene explorer” at Google I/O, essentially applying its search capabilities to the real world. You’ll wave your phone’s camera across a shelf of products and it will overlay information and ratings on the screen to help you find the right option. Google search lead Prabhakar Raghavan cited the possibility of finding nut-free snacks or unscented lotions at an actual retail store as an example.

    The implementation may be different, but the concept is similar. We’re used to ordering food, taxis, and family essentials at the touch of a button on our phones. Now, Apple and Google also want to make our phones a big part of accomplishing those tasks in the real world, and cameras will be a big part of that.

    Google and Apple have also refined their vision of making our phones a hub for other devices around us. Google explains how Android 13 will help your phone better connect with other devices with support for quick pairing, automatic audio switching between devices, and easier synchronization of messages between phone and computer. It also reveals New split screen interface for Android Auto that will make multitasking easier when you’re on the go.

    Read more: The new Apple Watch SE sounds more interesting than the Series 8. Here’s why

    Illustration showing the iOS-inspired CarPlay interface and dashboard

    Apple’s new iOS-inspired CarPlay interface.


    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 reach of the iPhone is in the automotive. The company teases an improved version of its CarPlay software looks like an entire car operating system, complete with app icons, widgets, and other user interface elements reminiscent of the iPhone and Apple Watch.

    Smart homes and connected cars are not new ideas. Both have been an integral part of Apple and Google’s respective strategies for many years. But iOS 16 and Android 13 make clear Apple and Google’s vision for how these devices will communicate and interact.

    As smartphones become linked to everything from your credit cards to your thermostat and your car, Apple and Google are making its aesthetic more personal. When iOS 16 launches this fall, your iPhone will get it a new lock screen with support for Apple Watch-esque widgets and new photo effects for background images. Google is extending its Material You with pre-made color sets that can be applied across the entire operating system.

    iOS 16 and Android 13 are much more than new wallet functionality, a camera tool for scanning real-world objects, and improved connectivity. These updates not only signal how essential phones are to our online and offline lives, they also indicate where the industry is headed next.

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