StandBy, one of the many interesting new features this year iOS 17 software update, allows iPhones to act as smart displays when plugged in and not otherwise in use. This means they can perform a secondary function as a dimmed (or red tinted) digital alarm clock with some handy widgets while charging overnight. But based on a new report, Apple is considering a similar feature for the Mac.
Of course, your Mac is less likely to be sitting next to your bed at night, so the analogy isn’t exact. But there’s considerable merit in the idea that the screen automatically switches to a more general information hub when it would otherwise be idle (and assuming battery conservation isn’t an issue). It could contain a clock, calendar, weather information, smart home controls, a rotating gallery of photos, or any other useful widget or control.
It seems Apple feels the same way. In the subscriber-only version of his latest Ignition bulletinBloomberg leaker analyst Mark Gurman says Cupertino engineers are working on a new Mac display that will feature Apple’s own silicon processor. Which in itself is not new: the Studio display runs an A13. But this device will be designed to act (like an iOS 17 iPhone) as a standalone smart display when it’s not required for its day-to-day work.
Given that StandBy has just been announced for the iPhone, and that this is the first time we’ve heard of this development for a Mac display, we’d expect this to be a long way from launch if it indeed becomes a reality. But it is worth mentioning that, like The limit notes, there’s been talk of a feature like this in the past, just for the iPad.
Leaving the smart display feature aside, there have been a lot of rumors about Apple’s upcoming standalone displays. Last December it was reported that the company was working multiple devices of this type for launch in 2023, and there are hopes, albeit long-term ones, that a 27 inch mini LED display is in the works.