Apple is hosting hundreds of Developers at their Apple Park HQ this morning in Cupertino California, announcing a range of new products and software updates – key among them the changes coming to iPhones with iOS 17 later this year.

iOS 17 will be available around the same time as the next iPhone in mid to late September, and will be available to all iPhones from the iPhone XS onward.

The update for 2023 is not going to be a challenging one for users, with most features just enhancements of existing features, and many will prompt Android “Fan boys” to exclaim “We’ve had that for years”, but for iPhone users these are all-new.

Firstly, iPhone users can create a new “Contact Poster” which is a graphical display of your photo or animated representation and name.  This will be displayed to other users you call, and when you exchange contacts with people.

Importantly, that’s also been improved, with a new feature Apple call “NameDrop”.  Using NameDrop, you can simply move your iPhone closer to another users iPhone or Apple Watch to initiate an exchange of contact details between each other.

Apple has also improved AirPlay, allowing you to share photos or files this same way, but with one huge advancement.  AirDrop exchanges can be continued and completed via your internet connection.  So initiate the transfer standing next to a mate, but then walk away and the transfer happens in full resolution via the internet.

For those of us who grew up in the age of the Answering machine, that idea of screening calls is back with live Voicemail.

Similar to Google’s Call Screening, when you send a call to Voicemail on iPhone, you will now see a transcript of the message being left.  If you want to take the call, just pick it up, if it’s not for you, it will keep going and the message is there for you to reference later.

There are updates to the Messages app, many of which are familiar to users of other apps like WhatsApp, like swipe to reply, or location tracking within the thread.  But there are also new features like “Check In” which allows you to share with a mate that you are walking home or to a location, and Checkin will allow them to know you are safe.  Check in will also know you’re not on track, perhaps delayed, and check in with you to make sure you are ok.

Apple’s Autocorrect has created memes for the ages, and frustration for many, but that might be coming to an end, with improvements to the on-device handling of Autocorrect.

You can tap a word that’s changed to revert back to what you originally typed, plus there are new phrase ending predictions within your note or message which you can accept with the press of the space button.

For those who love Siri, no more “Hey” required, you can simply summon your voice assistant with just the word Siri – and make multiple commands in one go.

Finally, there’s a new Standby mode, which works on iPhone 12 onward using MagSafe. 

On a stand like the Belkin MagSafe stand, you can turn your phone sideways into landscape mode.  Doing this while charging, the phone will enter Standby mode, which displays a large format clock, or other screens to suit.

Essentially, it’s a smart screen.  Show music and play from the phone or speaker.  Show the clock, or your calendar, a whole range of great displays.

iOS 17 is available now to Developers, but will go into Public Beta in the month or so ahead.  A full roll out will come around the launch of the next iPhone in September.

Trevor Long travelled to Cupertino as a guest of Apple