When you buy a smartphone, the odds are good that you’re either getting a device that runs on iOS or Android. Apple’s iPhone lineup is enduringly popular and runs on the company’s in-house operating system, iOS. Android is a more diverse platform, an operating system created by Google but used by numerous third-party smartphone manufacturers.
While there are a handful of phones that run on different operating systems, Android and iOS are functionally the only two platforms competing in the space. They’re both getting major overhauls later this year, with iOS 16 and Android 13, respectively. What do we know about these new software refreshes, and what can you expect when they go live in the fourth quarter of 2022?
Apple’s upcoming iOS 16 brings a number of new features, both big and small. During Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month, the company announced features including updates to Apple Pay, Apple Car Play, and the system’s notification presentation. Many analysts noted the emphasis on making your iPhone a replacement for your wallet, with Apple Pay basically eliminating the need to carry physical cards.
Apple is interested in also replacing physical identification cards using smartphone tech. Digital driver’s licenses, which some states already issue, could be a way for apps to check users’ ages without needing them to confirm their identity. Notably, this feature isn’t unique to Apple, either–Android 13 features a focus on digital wallets, too.
The counterpoint to iOS 16 is Google’s upcoming Android 13, which will similarly feature a focus on digital wallets and virtual identification cards. Google unveiled more details regarding its revamped Google Wallet during its annual I/O conference last month and confirmed the new version of the app will contain a slew of personal documents and papers. Users will be able to store their boarding passes, student IDs, vaccination cards, and more.
During the conference, Android and Google Play’s vice president of product management Sameer Samat explicitly called out what the company hopes to do with its new Wallet app. “In fact, these days there are only two things I don’t leave home without: my phone and my wallet. So the question is, can my phone replace my wallet?”
Some analysts have pointed out that this changing role for smartphones could result in more difficulty for people who choose to go without phones or those who want to switch between iOS and Android after upgrading. However, that’s never stopped Apple or Google from making updates to their operating systems in the past.