What iOS 16 and Android 13 tell us about the future of smartphones


This story is part WWDC 2022CNET’s full coverage from and about Apple’s annual developer conference.

What is happening

iOS 16 and Android 13 both come with new features that aim to replace your physical wallet and improve connections with smart home gadgets and connected car interfaces.

why is it important

The updates underline the shared vision of Apple and Google to make our phones more essential for everyday life.

Your iPhone Where android phone is about to become even more closely tied to the non-digital aspects of your life. This is one of the main lessons of iOS16 and Android 13, the latest mobile software updates from Apple and Google, coming later this year. The two tech giants want to turn your phone into an electronic wallet to store your legal identity, bringing your phone closer to your identity like never before. Companies are also continuing to improve the way phones communicate with cars, smart home gadgets and other everyday devices.

Both iOS16 and Android 13 are filled with changes and new features, some of which are more important than digital wallets and faster logins (like Apple Security Check Tool 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 our phones are intertwined with everyday essentials like wallets, credit cards, cars, and household 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 accelerate those efforts.

Read more: iOS 16 lock screen upgrades make iPhone more like a smartwatch

Physical Wallet Replacement

screenshot from Google I/O May 2022 presentation

Google adds digital driver’s licenses to Google Wallet.

Google; screenshot by CNET

The digital wallet was front and center during Apple’s iOS 16 announcement and Google’s Android 13 preview. most significant upcoming change to Apple Pay is a new option called Apple pay later, 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 of its Wallet app during 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 on Google I/O in 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. 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.

Read more: What WatchOS 9 may reveal about the next Apple Watch

Your phone, everywhere

Google search explorer

Google’s new visual search tool details products on a busy store shelf.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

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 WWDC Keynote Presentation, 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 ambitious expansion of its Lens app called “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 with the push of a button on our phones. Now Apple and Google want to make our phones an essential part of performing these tasks in the real world as well, and the camera will be a major 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 how Android 13 would 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 a new split-screen interface for Android Auto this should make multitasking easier when you’re on the road.

Read more: A new Apple Watch SE looks more exciting than the Series 8. Here’s why


The new CarPlay interface inspired by Apple’s iOS.


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 teased an overhaul of its CarPlay software that looks like a full automotive operating system, with app icons, widgets, and other UI elements reminiscent of the iPhone and apple watch.

The smart home and the connected car are not new. They’ve both been integral parts 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 get a brand new lock screen with 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.


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