Your smartphone will soon become even more closely tied to the nondigital aspects of your life. That’s one of the main takeaways from iOS 16 and Android 13, the new mobile software updates coming later this year from Apple and Google. Both tech giants want to turn your phone into a digital wallet for storing your legal ID and other essential documents, pushing your phone closer to your identity than ever before. The companies also continue to improve the way phones communicate with cars, smart home gadgets and other everyday devices.
Both iOS 16 and Android 13 are filled with tweaks and new features, some of which are more important than digital wallets and speedier connections (like Apple’s Safety Check tool for protecting domestic abuse victims, and Google’s new privacy updates). But the overlap between the two operating systems underscores the phone’s changing role in our lives. Based on Apple’s and Google’s latest announcements, what’s happening around your phone will be just as important as what’s happening on your phone.
The more intimately our phones are tethered to daily essentials like wallets, credit cards, cars and home appliances, the harder it’s going to be to move away from them (or switch between iPhone and Android). The concept isn’t new; the industry has moved in this direction for years. But the changes in iOS 16 and Android 13 bring important refinements to Apple’s and Google’s respective approaches that will likely accelerate such efforts.
Read more: iOS 16’s Lock Screen Upgrades Make the iPhone More Like a Smartwatch
Replacing the physical wallet
screenshot from Google I/O May 2022 presentation
Google is adding digital driver’s licenses to Google Wallet.
Google; screenshot by CNET
The digital wallet was a big focus during both Apple’s iOS 16 announcement and Google’s Android 13 preview. The most significant change coming to Apple Pay is a new option called Apple Pay Later, which splits the cost of a purchase into four equal installments over six weeks. With iOS 16, identification cards stored in Apple Wallet can also be used to verify your age within apps. The addition comes after Apple first added support for digital IDs last year.
Google, meanwhile, detailed a major revamp to its Wallet app during its I/O conference last month that brings it up to speed with Apple. The new Google Wallet will store personal documents like 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.
Taken together, Apple’s and Google’s updates represent another step toward their common objective of making physical wallets obsolete — a shift that’ll inevitably make us even more reliant on mobile devices.
Google reiterated this ambition just before detailing the new updates at 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, Android and Google Play’s vice president of product management, said on stage. “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 the WWDC keynote on Monday.
“With Apple Wallet, we’re working hard on our goal to replace your physical wallet,” he said.
People have already embraced the idea of replacing physical credit cards with smartphone-based payment apps. Usage of in-store mobile payment systems like Apple Pay is expected to surpass 50% of all smartphone users in the US 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 could make the notion 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 only one way Apple and Google hope to make our phones more useful offline in everyday life. Both companies also introduced camera-based smartphone tools that could make navigating real-world points of interest easier. Another prominent theme is the increased interconnectivity between mobile devices and home appliances, cars and speakers.
Apple and Google both believe the camera will continue to play a big 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 its WWDC keynote presentation, the company demonstrated how this could be used to translate an entire restaurant menu into a different language. You’ll also be able to track a flight or convert currency just by tapping on text in a photo.
Google showed off 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’d wave your phone’s camera across a shelf of products, and it would overlay information and ratings on screen to help you find the right pick. Google search head Prabhakar Raghavan cited the ability to find nut-free snacks or scent-free lotion at a physical retail store as an example.
The execution may be different, but the concept is similar. We’re already accustomed to ordering food, taxis and household essentials with the press of a button on our phones. Now Apple and Google want to make our phones a critical part of accomplishing those tasks in the real world too, and the camera will be a major part of that.
Google and Apple have also refined their respective visions for turning our phone into a connection hub for other appliances around us. Google explained how Android 13 would make your phone better at connecting to other devices with support for fast pairing, automatic audio switching between devices, and the ability to more easily sync messages between your phone and computer. It also revealed a new split-screen interface for Android Auto that should make multitasking easier when you’re on the road.
Read more: A New Apple Watch SE Sounds More Exciting Than the Series 8. Here’s Why
Apple’s new iOS-inspired CarPlay interface.
Apple simplified the process of managing HomeKit devices with a redesigned home app for the iPhone. But perhaps the biggest area where Apple plans to broaden the iPhone’s reach is in the car. The company teased a revamp of its CarPlay software that looks like an entire operating system for automobiles, complete with app icons, widgets and other user interface elements that are reminiscent of the iPhone and Apple Watch.
The smart home and connected car aren’t new ideas. They’ve both been an integral part of Apple and Google’s respective strategies for years. But iOS 16 and Android 13 clarify how Apple’s 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 car, Apple and Google are making its aesthetic more personal. 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 premade color sets that can be applied across the entire operating system.
There’s a lot more to iOS 16 and Android 13 than new wallet functionality, camera tools for scanning real-world objects and improved connectivity. These updates not only signal how essential the phone is becoming to both our online and offline lives, they also point to where the industry is heading next.
First published on June 11, 2022 at 5:00 a.m. PT.
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iOS 16’s New Apple Pay Option Lets iPhone Users Buy Now and Pay Later: How It Works
Peter Butler headshot
June 13, 2022 6:55 p.m. PT
5 min read
Apple Pay Later feature in Apple Wallet on an iPhone showing upcoming payments
The new Apple Pay Later feature in iOS 16 lets you split the cost of a purchase into four payments.
This story is part of WWDC 2022, CNET’s complete coverage from and about Apple’s annual developers conference.
Apple has announced a new free financing feature in Apple Wallet that lets you pay for purchases over time for free.
Why it matters
As inflation continues to impact households, “buy now, pay later” services have become a popular payment option, and Apple’s entry will likely become a major player.
Apple Pay Later will launch with the release of iOS 16, expected in September 2022.
The upcoming release of iOS 16 for iPhone will make Apple one of the bigger players in the “buy now, pay later” space. BNPL services let you spread the cost of your purchases into multiple payments made over a relatively short period of time, usually for no fees or interest. Apple announced the launch of its own service, Apple Pay Later, at last week’s Worldwide Developers Conference
Apple Pay is a part of Apple Wallet, the iPhone’s digital wallet app that also provides Apple Card and Apple Cash. Apple Pay allows you to store debit and credit cards and make purchases online or at businesses; Apple Card is a credit account issued by MasterCard and Goldman Sachs that works like a standard digital credit card; and Apple Cash enables peer-to-peer payments.
Apple’s foray into free financing with Apple Pay Later comes at a time when many retailers are accepting payments from BNPL apps such as Affirm, Klarna and Afterpay. Most of these apps provide similar short-term interest-free payment plans, while others also provide longer installment plans with variable interest rates.
We’ll share everything there is to know about Apple Pay Later in this piece, including how it will work, where it will be accepted and when it will be available. Apple unveiled Pay Later and iOS 16 alongside new versions of its MacBook and iPad. Here’s everything Apple announced at WWDC.
How does Apple Pay Later work?
Apple Pay Later lets you break the cost of purchases into four equal payments that are spread over six weeks. The first payment is due when you make your purchase, and the remaining payments are due every two weeks after that.
Once Apple Pay Later is released, you’ll have two options when completing a purchase: Pay in Full and Pay Later. Selecting the latter option will bring up a payment schedule displaying the amount of each of the four payments and when they will be due.
According to Corey Fugman, senior director for Wallet and Apple Pay, who spoke about Wallet during the WWDC keynote address, Apple Pay Later will be available “anywhere that Apple Pay is accepted, in apps or online,” indicating that the service may not be available for purchases made in physical stores.
Stores and merchants won’t have to implement any changes in order to accept payments through Apple Pay Later. Transactions will occur as they did before — the only difference will lie in how back-end payments are made.
MasterCard Installments, the credit card company’s white-label BNPL service, will provide the merchant payments for Apple Pay Later. Apple and its banking partner Goldman Sachs began plans for Apple Pay Later in July last year, according to Bloomberg.
When can I use Apple Pay Later on my iPhone?
Apple Pay Later will be included with iOS 16, the next planned update of Apple’s operating system for iPhone. The beta version of iOS 16 is already available for developers who have an account. In the WWDC keynote, Apple indicated that the first public beta version of iOS 16 will be released sometime in July.
Apple has traditionally released its newest operating systems to the public at the same time as its latest phones, as it did with iPhone 13 and iOS 15 in September last year. The iPhone 14 is expected to come out in September this year, and it’s likely that iOS 16 will also be released at or near the same time.
How is Apple Pay Later different from Apple Card Monthly Installments?
Apple Card Monthly Installments is an Apple program that lets you finance the purchase of certain Apple products when using the Apple Card credit card. The length of the 0% APR period for these purchases depends on the product. Installment plans range from six months to two years.
Apple Pay Later isn’t restricted to Apple products, nor does it require the use of the Apple Card. With Apple Pay Later, you’ll be able to finance purchases using a debit card, Apple specified, as long as it’s connected to Apple Wallet. Also, the interest-free installment period for Apple Pay Later — six weeks — is much shorter than the payment plans offered by Apple Card Monthly Installments.
What else is new in Apple Wallet for iPhone?
Another new feature in Apple Wallet announced at WWDC is Apple Pay Order Tracking, which adds the ability for merchants to provide detailed receipts and delivery statuses for purchased products to customers via Apple Wallet.
Apple also announced expanded support in Apple Wallet for driver’s licenses and identification cards. Following IDs from Colorado and Arizona, Apple Wallet expects to add support for 11 more states in the near future.
These driver’s licenses can be used at select Transportation Security Agency checkpoints. They can also be shared with other apps that require identification, such as alcohol purchases through Uber Eats.
Apple Wallet is also adding support for sharing keys for locations such as hotels, offices or automobiles. New features will let users share keys with friends or associates using email, text messaging or other messaging apps.
Like Apple Pay Later, the Apple Pay Order Tracking, driver’s license and key-sharing features will be made available to the public with the full release of iOS 16, expected in September 2022.
What other online services let you buy now and pay later?
Some existing online payment systems provide “buy now, pay later” short-term financing similar to what Apple Pay Later is offering. PayPal’s Pay in 4 program works very much like Apple Pay Later, except that purchases are limited to between $300 and $1,500.
BNPL app Sezzle also uses a system of four payments over six weeks, but permits users to reschedule one payment for up to two weeks later at no cost and postpone further payments for an additional fee.
Other BNPL apps such as Affirm and Klarna offer interest-free installment plans for short periods, or longer installment plans that add a variable interest rate.
For more coverage of WWDC, learn about the upcoming MacOS Ventura, new fitness and workout features for the Apple Watch and all of the new features announced for Apple Maps.
First published on June 7, 2022 at 3:15 a.m. PT.
iOS 16: The Big Features We Didn’t See at WWDC 2022
Commentary: We still want these four iPhone features. Many of them have been on Android for years.
Mike Sorrentino headshot
June 12, 2022 12:30 p.m. PT
5 min read
Apple’s iOS 16 operating system
This story is part of WWDC 2022, CNET’s complete coverage from and about Apple’s annual developers conference.
Apple showed off a preview of the developer beta of iOS 16 at WWDC 2022. The iPhone update brings a lot of changes. But despite numerous upcoming features, there are several things that we see on other Apple products and Android phones that don’t appear to be coming to iOS.
I don’t mean to discount the good highlights, like the new customizable lock screens, the ability to edit and unsend iMessage texts and the Apple Maps makeover, among many others. But a few of these features that the iPhone still doesn’t include aren’t new at all and are pretty easy to find when you look just beyond the devices that Apple makes.
What We Wanted: Always-on display
What We Got: It might be in the code
Many Android phones have included an always-on display over the past decade, which takes advantage of OLED screens by only lighting up the necessary pixels to show glanceable information like the time and some notifications. Even though Apple has been using OLED screens since 2017’s iPhone X, there hasn’t yet been implementation of this type of lock screen in iOS.
That could change though as according to a 9to5Mac report, the operating system makes multiple references to an always-on display within its code. While a code reference is far from any kind of confirmation that the feature is in active development, it’s possible that Apple is considering the feature in a future device.
A screenshot of the iOS 16 Messages app
In Messages you can edit previously sent messages.
What We Wanted: Better texting to non-iPhones
What We Got: A group texting improvement
Apple’s iMessage in iOS 16 is gaining the ability to edit and recall messages that haven’t already been viewed, but these enhancements are still largely iPhone-only features that aren’t advancing the overall state of text messaging within the phone industry. When it comes to texting any other phone that isn’t an iPhone, iOS still falls back to the decades-old SMS standard which lacks conveniences like typing indicators and smoother group texting.
While Google has been getting phone carriers to support the RCS standard that includes these features — admittedly over the course of several years with setbacks — the standard currently remains Android-only with Google claiming that they would be happy to work with Apple for interoperability.
The chances of that appear as bleak as ever, but there is some hope for group chats between the iPhone and Android phones. iOS 16 is adding support for message reactions sent over SMS, which currently arrive as a series of messages about how a person “Liked” or “Loved” a message.
Instead, the Messages app will now translate these into the appropriate icon, much like how it already does this when every participant in the group chat uses an iPhone. Google recently added a similar feature into its Messages app, translating iPhone reactions in the same way. This move isn’t going to massively improve these group chats, but as a convenience I’ll take it.
WWDC 2022 Recap: iOS 16 and Everything Else Apple Announced
Apple M2 MacBook Air Hands-On: Bigger Screen, Higher Price
iOS 16 Features iPhone Users Are Going to Love Most
Split View in iPadOS.
What We Wanted: Split View on bigger iPhone models
What We Got: Nothing yet
Apple’s iPad tablets have long included the ability to run two apps side by side, taking advantage of the larger screen. The iPad is also getting its own multitasking boost with iPadOS 16 thanks to the new Stage Manager. Android phones have similarly featured the ability to run multiple apps at once. But on the iPhone, even with the iPhone 13 Pro Max and its 6.7-inch display, there is no ability to use two apps at once.
Apple does allow some limited multitasking on iPhone, such as viewing a picture-in-picture video on top of another app, but it’d be great to occasionally view a condensed version of the Mail app alongside Safari or to place the Calculator app alongside a budgeting app.
Multiple lock screens displayed on and next to an iPhone.
iOS 16 gives you a ton of new ways to customize your lock screen.
Apple/Screenshot by CNET
What We Wanted: More Home Screen, Settings menu customization
What We Got: New lock screen options
One of Android 12’s big features is the ability to customize the entire theme of your phone — including custom colors for the notifications pulldown. While iOS 16 is bringing more control to the lock screen, it’d be a great next step to go further and allow thematic tweaks that extend to notifications and the various settings menus.
Alongside a custom theme, it would also be great if home screens would allow for apps to be placed anywhere we want. While widgets can help with this (I use a full-width weather and calendar widget to push my first row of apps lower), some people might want to exclusively place their apps on the bottom row of their home screen. While the existing Focus modes and App Library feature already let you customize which apps you want to appear on home screens, allowing you free rein of placement would be the next logical step for customization.
The lock screen was a big focus during the iOS 16 presentation. Perhaps next year Apple will once again focus on the home screen.
A phone with Pay Later at the top showing upcoming payments
Apple Pay Later in iOS 16.
New iOS 16 features could still arrive
While Apple at WWDC 2022 gave a first look at iOS 16, it did not provide any teaser about the upcoming iPhone 14 line presumed to arrive this fall. Sometimes Apple reveals specific iOS features alongside the new phone line, like how Cinematic Mode made its debut with the iPhone 13.
An always-on display in particular might be exactly the kind of feature that makes its debut with the next iPhone, especially if it’s a feature that takes advantage of the higher refresh rate displays that debuted with the iPhone 13 line. The Apple Watch’s always-on display for instance debuted with the Apple Watch Series 5, and was not otherwise available through a software update to other Apple Watch models.
It’s also worth remembering that some of the new iOS features won’t make it to every iPhone. For instance, Face ID in landscape mode is only coming to supported iPhone models, and it’s currently unclear which iPhone models will be excluded. iOS 16 is also the first software update not coming to the iPhone 6S, the 2016 iPhone SE nor the iPhone 7 line.
We’ve reached out to Apple in case there is any development on the iOS 16 feature ideas that we’re still hoping arrive before the software update’s public release later this year.