June 9, 2024

Live Blog of WWDC 2023: Latest on Apple VR Headset, MacBook Air 15, iOS 17 and More



(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)AirPods get Adaptive Audio mode for changing environmentsThe developer’s conference is a great time to add software features for Apple accessories, and Apple today announced an Adaptive Audio mode for its AirPods devices. This mode tries to intelligently change between transparent and noise cancelling modes depending on the types of sound around you. Presumably, this means that a lawn mower would be silenced, while a car horn would break through your music to alert you. For AirPods Pro, Apple is adding new adaptive modes that will silence your music when you start speaking. This way you don’t have to press pause before you begin a conversation. You don’t even have to remove your earbud to show that you are listening. 

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)No, seriously, there’s going to be a game for Macs somedayAfter talking up gaming on Mac, confusing everyone who has shopped for a graphics card, Apple rolled out Hideo Kojima to talk about upcoming games for the Mac. The upcoming game for the Mac is Kojima’s Death Stranding, a game that was launched in 2020. It will get a rerelease on the Mac. After launching his three-year-old title on brand new Mac machines, Kojima implored other developers to launch new (old?) games for Mac. He did not actually announce a brand new game coming to the Mac, but presumably developers will listen to what he says and not what he does. 

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)MacOS Sonoma is the next heart of the MacIn a WWDC keynote filled with jokes (those “ducking” typos, am I right, people?!), Apple says that it’s crack marketing team was tasked with coming up with a new MacOS name and instead ended up piling into the bus and heading to wine country. So the new MacOS is Sonoma, named after California’s famed vineyard landscape. Regardless, Apple says that Mac OS Sonoma will be about helping you get things done. Then it starts with widget demos, including an unfortunate demo of Apollo for Reddit, a widget which may be priced out of existence by new exorbitant third-party API pricing by Reddit’s team. After widgets, Apple moves on to gaming, which is not a realm for which Apple is known to be a leader, or even a contender, as it supports very few of today’s top games. In any case – MacOS Sonoma – it’s about getting things done. 

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)Let’s go downstairs to the iPadApple has moved on from its phone OS and is giving iPad OS it’s due, starting with improvements to widgets. Android fans are probably laughing that Apple is finally catching up to the capabilities Android has possessed since single-digit versions, but at least the iPad will become more useful with widgets that don’t need to open an app to be interactive. Apple is also offering new wallpapers to the iPad, including weather-specific and live photos. Wallpapers like Astronomy look great on the iPhone and it finally gets some big features for the larger iPad. There are also new lock screen features, including the ability to keep track of live updates like food orders. The iPad can even track multiple timers at once. “We truly live in an age of wonders,” Apple says, sarcastically? It seems that the big screen device is finally getting some real consideration after stagnating for a while. 

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)A new Journal app is coming to iPhone and iOSAs we predicted, Apple is launching a Journal app that will use data from your iPhone to help you create journal entries. Apple says this will be all about helping its users express and experience gratitude. It will grab photos, location data, and other information and offer suggestions for journal entries. Apple says that this information will be kept completely private and will be locked to your device. This is Apple, so we hope it will follow its legacy of protecting user privacy, especially on an app like this. 

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)A new way to AirDrop, Apple lets you Name Drop contentApple has made sharing easier among iPhone and iOS devices. Expanding on its AirDrop feature, Apple is adding new gestures and new ways to find people to share your content or your activities. One of these is called Name Drop, a feature you can use from your phone or your watch to find your recipients quickly. You can also share with people nearby using a simple new gesture of bringing your iPhones close together. The phones will recognize the sharing process. You can share more than just files. You’ll also be able to share links and video streams. 

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)In iOS 17, Apple has re-invented the Answering MachineApple has moved on from the professional-grade hardware to new features in iOS 17, and first up is a live voice mail feature that lets you listen in as a caller records a message. If this sounds familiar, that’s probably because you are old enough to remember the old school answering machine. In the same way that those tape recorders let you screen your calls, Apple will do the same. This isn’t your Dad’s answering machine, though. Apple is adding voice mail service for Face Time. You’ll be able to leave a Face Time message for a recipient when they can’t answer. This is a long-requested feature, according to Apple.

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)The two most powerful Macs that Apple has ever madeApple has introduced two new Mac desktop computers that take advantage of Apple M2 Ultra and M2 Max chipsets. The Apple Mac Studio compact desktop and the Apple Mac Pro have finally gotten the long-awaited update to Apple’s own silicon, officially leaving Intel behind. We’ll have all of the news and spec details on the new Apple desktops, but these are truly pro-level machines. They will have tons of power for Pro-Res video editing and serious creative workflows. 

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)A much bigger Macbook AirFirst up is the new Macbook Air 15-inch. The new M2 Macbook will have a huge display, a 15.3-inch Apple Liquid Retina screen. Apple says this is the world’s thinnest 15-inch laptop. It weighs only 3.3 pounds. Even though it’s thin, Apple is saying it will last for 18 hours on a single battery charge. It uses MagSafe for charging and includes two Thunderbolt ports, and it also keeps the headphone port, thankfully. The new Macbook Air will come in four colors, including a deep blue color as well as a standard array of Apple shades. 

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)Some of our biggest announcements everThe show has begun and Tim cook has taken the stage! Without revealing any new products, Cook says that Apple will be making some of its biggest announcements ever. 

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)Apple’s Reality Pro VR headset may come with some bad newsEven if we see Apple’s rumored AR/VR (or XR, as it’s called) headset today, and even if we do get some price and availability info for a consumer launch, we’re not expecting the happiest news on that front. In fact, we’re expecting Apple’s entry into consumer headsets to be among the priciest of any manufacturer. Our VR expert Hamish Hector has a rundown on the potentially high price tag that could come with Apple’s new headset, and though it makes sense for the technology inside, it’s sure to be hard to swallow. Of course, this is all rumor and speculation until the show starts, and then we’ll know for sure, so keep tuned to this page and we’ll have all the details as the story breaks. 

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)But first, a little pessimismWe’ve been hyping everything Apple might show today, but the perennial headline for Apple’s WWDC shows is always “don’t be disappointed, this was a developer conference.” While we love to see new Apple products that we some day may buy and adore, there’s every chance we’ll see nothing today … at least nothing we can buy. Apple takes the Developer part of WWDC seriously, so this show could be all about the things to come. There may be no new glasses on display, only an xrOS for developers. There may be no new Macbook Air or Mac Pro on display, only the future Apple silicon chips that will go inside. We could see chips today and then get an announcement from Apple next week about its new Macbook Air. Apple can be enigmatic with its launch decisions, and it often makes changes at the last minute based on internal forces. Whatever comes, we’re ready for it, and the buzz couldn’t be more electric over VR and other new products. We’ll have all the news as it happens, right here. 

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)It’s happeningBased on all the whispers, grins, winks, and over-excited faces I’ve seen this morning, I think the big Apple VR launch is a lock.There is an energy at this WWDC that is unlike any I’ve seen in years. Part of it might be the weather and that we really all feel like we’ve entered a post-COVID space, but that’s not all of it.No one is leaking any information about what to expect but it’s clear this is not a typical WWDC. I have a feeling that Apple is going to surprise a lot of people today. Whatever we think we know about the hardware and platform may be wrong by a little or a lot.This could be a bigger consumer play than originally anticipated.And it may just be the excitement of being here, but I’m starting to understand why people say that this could be the next iPhone moment. Partially because we all remember how no one thought in 2008 the iPhone App Store would be that big. And, well, look at it now.Again, all conjecture, but we’re just about 45 minutes from knowing it all (or at least most of it).

Our computing staff writer, Muskaan, is writing up a thread about what she hopes to see at WWDC, especially what it has in store for her iPhone.#WWDC2023 kicks off in a few hours and I’ll be tweeting out all the cool stuff dropping during the event! Like this thread to follow along and keep an eye out on @techradar account for snazzy roundups and cool photos live from @LanceUlanoff 🍎✨June 5, 2023See moreShe also makes an excellent point about how Lance’s excellent hat is a good omen for WWDC 2023.@LanceUlanoff rocking a killer hat at #WWDC23 is an omen of great tech to come 😤 https://t.co/RYtnhsDPV1June 5, 2023See moreThis is why we pay her the big bucks (it isn’t, and we don’t).

Lance update: He’s got a seat! And it looks to be a good one as well, not too far from the screen.This also suggests that the keynote will be pre-recorded, rather than live on stage. This was also the case last year.You bet I already grabbed a seat. #WWDC23 pic.twitter.com/T1ra4tIhdBJune 5, 2023See more

Here’s the lovely Lance proudly showing off his press pass at Apple’s HQ!Let’s do this. #WWDC23 pic.twitter.com/CpdFR3BqnpJune 5, 2023See more

(Image credit: HTC)One of the biggest questions regarding WWDC 2023 is whether or not Apple will show off a VR/AR headset. The rumors suggest it’s likely, but Apple is keeping tight-lipped.However, one of the companies that will be its competitor if it gets into VR/AR (or XR, as it terms it, which means mixed reality), HTC, seems to think Apple will be joining it today, and Cher Wang, HTC Vive Co-founder and Chairwoman, has issued a statement welcoming Apple to the “XR community in the spirit of collaboration and support.””As a leader in the XR industry, we are thrilled to extend a warm welcome to Apple as they venture into the vibrant XR community. With our years of dedicated innovation and commitment to pushing the boundaries, we eagerly embrace the arrival of a company that shares our unwavering pursuit of technological excellence, user privacy, and human-centered design. Together, we have a unique opportunity to collaborate, inspire each other, and reshape the future of XR experiences, making a profound impact on the lives of businesses and consumers alike.” Does HTC know something we don’t? Or is it using all the uncertainty to brag about how it is ‘a leader’ in the industry? Not long until we find out…

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, has upped the hype levels by tweeting that this year’s WWDC will be one of Apple’s “best ever”.WWDC is always one of my favorite moments of the year — and this one is going to be our best ever! Tune in for our special event at 10 a.m. PT pic.twitter.com/SmkLT3VXldJune 5, 2023See moreWith rumors suggesting the keynote could be an epic three hours-long, we may be in for an avalanche of new announcements from Apple. Not long until we find out…

(Image credit: Apple)Is Apple about to announce some new Macs at WWDC? Rumors suggest it is, and the latest rumor suggests that there will be a new Mac Studio, powered by the as-yet-unlaunched M2 Ultra chip.These new rumors make it even more believable that we’re getting a new Mac Studio.The Mac Studio, in case you don’t know, is like a super-sized Mac mini. It debuted last year with the ultra-powerful M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips, so if the rumors are true, it makes sense for a similar model to launch with the M2 Max and M2 Ultra.

(Image credit: Ian Zelbo)US Editor-in-Chief, Lance Ulanoff, will be attending WWDC in person, and has shared his thoughts on what we can expect:The star of the showApple’s decision to launch a major new product category during WWDC threatens to completely overshadow anything else the iPhone giant launches today.Remember, this is a developer event. Unlike an iPhone launch where press like me might get to sit dead center in the audience, Apple typically puts media off to the side, reserving prime seating for its developers.The question is, how much will developers care about the Reality Pro headset and xrOS? Their investments are deep in iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. They’ll want to learn about all the new ways they can leverage the platforms to enhance their apps and third-party products.Virtual Reality, AR, and mixed reality are exciting and important, but still niche compared to iOS17. That update will impact at least 1 billion iPhone owners.I’m still not certain if Apple will start off this keynote in typical fashion with data points about the state of the iPhone, Mac, iPad, and, especially app market, or will Apple CEO Tim Cook spend the first section on xrOS and the headset? I suspect, though, that the big reveal will be in the last 30 minutes of what should be a 2-hour keynote.Doing so will at least give all of Apple’s crucial platforms their due and satisfy all the developers. Otherwise, Apple risks losing the WWDC plot.

(Image credit: Getty Images)One of the interesting questions for today’s keynote is whether it’ll be all pre-recorded, as recent events have been, or whether there’ll be some kind of live element. You might think there’s no reason not to just have it all recorded – but depending on exactly what Apple’s mixed-reality headset can do, it might be more impressive to have someone on-stage demoing it, with a screen behind showing what they’re seeing in real time.That would really set it apart from Meta’s presentations about the Metaverse that tend to show just the ‘potential’ for what can be done – which is why people are so suspicious of the idea of these headsets taking off with the wider world. We need to see that mind-blowing stuff is a real possibility, and a live demo is the way to show that – it’s what worked for the original iPhone.Of course, keep in mind that in practice, the iPhone’s software apparently completely fell apart if you did anything other than the exact things Steve Jobs did in the exact order he did them. So it’s not like a live demo means there’s no smoke and mirrors…

(Image credit: Apple)Outside of the VR headset that may or may not exist (but probably does), the star of the WWDC show will be iOS 17. It’s the heart of Apple’s most popular product, and the changes made there will also bleed into iPadOS 17, so it’s doubly important – and apparently is set to be a bigger update than expected.A major area for updates seems to be the Lock screen, which is set for more customization options, and apparently will also enable the phone to function like a smart display (which we’re sure is a feature made with the iPad’s larger screen in mind too).There have also been leaks of supposed new looks for apps, and also a rumor that not all iPhones that support iOS 16 will get it, so some older phones could be left behind – though Apple usually supplies security updates for these devices, so they don’t become obsolete right away.

(Image credit: Future)One piece of hardware to keep your eyes open for at WWDC is a 15-inch MacBook Air (2023). There have been lots of rumors about this over the last couple of years, but recently there’s been enough to smoke to feel like something’s got to be burning in the Cupertino factories.Different members of the TechRadar team have different feelings about the idea of a 15-inch MacBook Air, but judging by how good the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) and MacBook Air (M1, 2020) were, it could be the best laptop ever made.Supposedly, this model has been spotted in testing software results, using an Apple M2 chip, which suggests that we won’t see a total refresh of the MacBook Air line-up, since the 13-inch model already uses that chip.

(Image credit: Adorama)Speaking of music, it’s not just Macs, iPhones and so on that we’re hoping will get a software upgrade today: it’s AirPods too. New versions of iOS tend to be the delivery method for upgrades to what AirPods can do – in 2022, iOS 16 brought Personalized Spatial Audio to Apple’s buds, for example.There haven’t been any rumors of new features coming to AirPods Pro 2, AirPods Max and the rest… but that doesn’t mean Apple’s been resting on its laurels. We’re hoping that there could be a handful of new features coming, because there are certainly things that the best wireless earbuds from other manufacturers do better than AirPods.So we’ve made a little list of 6 things we hope Apple adds to AirPods in iOS 17 – they’re all realistic technologically, so we’ll see if we get lucky.

(Image credit: Apple Music )Look, we’re all hyped for what Apple has planned for its WWDC keynote later today, but if you’re planning on getting really excited, you can get Apple Music’s Power Up 2023 playlist which has a special WWDC 2023 angle, including Dua Lipa’s Dance the Night and Diplo and Lily Rose’s Sad in the Summer. As it’s on Apple Music, many of the tracks are in Dolby Atmos as well. I have to admit, Apple’s music choices for its events don’t always align with my own musical tastes, but our audio expert Becky Scarrott has cast her critical eye over the playlist and gives it the thumbs up, and she knows a good tune when she hears it.

(Image credit: Unsplash [Omid Armin])One software update we’re definitely expecting from Apple today concerns Siri, its occasionally helpful digital assistant. Siri has been tipped to get a major update at WWDC, with AI enhancements to Apple’s assistant among the improvements rumored over the past few weeks. The most recent leak suggests that it could also get a more minor change concerning its wake word, with users able to say simply “Siri” rather than “Hey Siri”. With rivals such as Microsoft and Google now firmly invested in AI, it may need to make bigger changes than that to impress us, though. SiriGPT, anyone?

(Image credit: Apple)Whether or not xrOS does arrive at WWDC 2023 today, we can certainly expect updates to all of Apple’s other operating systems. For instance, watchOS 10 is almost certain to be announced at the event. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman – yes, him again – has tipped the software found in all of the best Apple Watches to be one of the stars of the show at WWDC 2023, and with good reason. Ahead of the event, we’ve pulled together a list of the four features watchOS 10 needs (and one it needs to ditch). Let’s see how many of them Apple gives us, eh?

Of course any new Apple mixed-reality headset will need a new operating system too – and that’s also expected to launch at WWDC 2023. According to the likes of Bloomberg’s well-connected Mark Gurman, Apple has settled on the name xrOS, rather than Reality OS as it was originally known. Gurman has also stated that it “will have many of the same features as an iPhone and iPad but in a 3D environment”, and that it will include mixed-reality versions of stock Apple apps such as Safari, Photos, Mail, Messages and Calendar.

(Image credit: Ian Zelbo)So, let’s talk about what Apple is expected to unveil today. The big story is likely to be around the company’s first proper foray into virtual reality. We don’t know for sure what the Apple VR headset will be called, but the name Apple Reality Pro has been widely shared. And we also have quite a bit of info about what it might be like. For instance, the rumors suggest it will be expensive – maybe as much as $3,000 (£2,200 / AU$4,400) – and that it will support both VR and mixed reality. We also think it may ship without controllers, that it could have super-high-res displays and that it could well run on an Apple M2 chip of some kind.We’ve pulled together everything we know about it so far in our Apple VR headset hub. 

What will Apple tell us?Here’s a little secret: in the run-up to the big event, Apple will send invites to a series of post-keynote briefings. While Apple doesn’t reveal the subject matter for any of those meetings prior to the end of what is expected to be a 90-minute keynote, we do use the number of meetings to glean potential topics.Rarely do we have one meeting. In fact, three-to-five briefings are typical, with one usually per platform. What I’ll be watching for are any extra meetings, ones that don’t seem to align with macOS, iOS, or iPadOS (typical briefing candidates).I also pay attention to the length of these background briefings. Long ones are usually for the big platforms (iOS). Short ones are for the second-tier players (maybe tvOS). Will I have a meeting about xrOS? I have no idea. Sadly, even once I know, I can’t really tell you anything about them. But what I learn in those meetings will inform my reporting on all things WWDC 2023.

Good morning and welcome to our WWDC 2023 live blog. We’ll be sharing all the last-minute rumors and news around all things Apple ahead of the event, then bringing you every announcement as it happens from 10am PT today. 

Apple unveils highly anticipated VR headset at WWDC 2023

At the annual WWDC event in 2023, Apple announced the release of its highly anticipated virtual reality headset. The headset features advanced eye-tracking technology and a high-resolution display, allowing for a truly immersive experience. While no official release date has been given, tech enthusiasts are eagerly waiting for its arrival.

MacBook Air 15: A sleek and powerful addition to the MacBook lineup

Apple also announced the release of a new addition to their MacBook lineup, the MacBook Air 15. With a larger display and powerful processing, this MacBook is sure to be popular with professionals and creatives alike. The lightweight and sleek design make it easy to take on the go, while the added features make it a strong contender in the laptop market.

iOS 17: An update packed with new features and improved performance

Apple’s latest iOS update brings a host of new features and improved performance to their mobile operating system. With redesigned widgets, advanced privacy settings, and improved camera features, iOS 17 offers users a more personalized and streamlined experience. The update also promises increased battery life and faster processing speeds across all devices.

WWDC 2023 Recap: More than just hardware releases

While the hardware releases stole the show at WWDC 2023, Apple also unveiled a range of new software updates and initiatives. The company teased their upcoming streaming service, Apple TV+, and introduced new developer tools and resources to encourage innovation among creators. Additionally, Apple highlighted their commitment to sustainability by announcing a new carbon-neutral initiative for their manufacturing processes.

FAQ about WWDC 2023

When was WWDC 2023 held?

WWDC 2023 was held in June 2023.

What was the most highly anticipated release at WWDC 2023?

The most highly anticipated release at WWDC 2023 was Apple’s virtual reality headset.

What new features did iOS 17 bring to the table?

iOS 17 brought redesigned widgets, improved privacy settings, and advanced camera features to the mobile operating system.

Did Apple only announce hardware releases at WWDC 2023?

No, Apple also teased their upcoming streaming service, introduced new developer tools and resources, and highlighted their commitment to sustainability.

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