WWDC 2023 roundup: iOS 17, Reality Pro headset, more
WWDC 2023 is days away, and it could be Apple’s biggest and most important event in a decade. At WWDC this year, Apple is expected to introduce a major update for iPhone users with iOS 17 and a redesigned interface for Apple Watch users with watchOS 10. Most important of all, however, is the anticipated announcement of the Reality Pro headset with AR and VR features, plus a new xrOS software platform.
When is WWDC 2023?
WWDC 2023 will kick off on Monday, June 5. Apple opens the week-long event with a special keynote on June 5 at 10:00 am PT/1:00 pm ET. During this keynote, Apple will announce major updates for iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. It will also unveil its Reality Pro headset and xrOS software platform.
The WWDC 2023 keynote is expected to be a pre-recorded video with high production value, beautiful video from Apple Park, and appearances from various Apple executives and engineers.
This year’s WWDC 2023 includes an in-person component for developers and members of the press. On Monday, developers will have the opportunity to attend the keynote, take tours of Apple Park and attend special sessions focused on Apple’s announcements.
Also on June 5, Apple will announce the winners of the Apple Design Awards, and it has already announced a roundup of finalists for this year’s festivities. After the keynote, Apple will also hold the Platforms State of the Union, which will offer more in-depth details about Apple’s announcements. There will also be special evening activities that Apple says attendees “won’t want to miss.”
How to watch WWDC 2023 from home
For those not attending Apple Park, Apple will be streaming the entire WWDC live through multiple channels. You’ll be able to tune in to the WWDC keynote via Apple’s website, the Apple Developer app, the Apple TV app and YouTube. This means you can watch via any device you may have, including iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV.
The Platforms State of the Union will be available to watch via the Apple Developer app and website at 1:30pm PT/4:30pm ET. Apple will also live stream the Apple Design Awards on June 5 at 6:30 PM PT/ 9:30 PM ET.
What to expect at WWDC 2023: iOS 17
First, Apple will announce iOS 17 at WWDC this year. This will be the annual major update for iPhone users, which will bring new features, changes, bug fixes and much more. So what’s on the docket for iOS 17 new features? Here’s what the rumors say.
An All-New Journaling App: This app will reportedly integrate with Apple’s Find My app to create a “smart” journaling app that integrates a number of different location-based features.
New “smart screen” mode: for the iPhone 14 Pro series, Apple plans new functions for the always-on display. iOS 17 will reportedly include a new horizontal interface for the always-on lock screen that can show things like calendar appointments, weather forecasts, and notifications.
New health app features: With iOS 17, Apple will reportedly add new mood and emotion tracking features. It will allow users to record their mood daily, answer specific questions about each day and track the results over time. The Health app will also reportedly get new features for managing vision conditions, such as the ability to save contact and glasses prescription information.
Sideloading and third-party app stores: Responding to regulatory pressure in the European Union, Apple is preparing to open up the iPhone to third-party app stores and sideloading for the first time. This will allow iPhone users to install apps from sources other than Apple’s own App Store. These features are rumored to be included as part of iOS 17, but will only be available in the European Union.
Upgrades to the Wallet app: According to Bloomberg, Apple is preparing “significant” changes to the Wallet app as part of iOS 17. No further details on what these changes include are currently available.
AirPlay and SharePlay: Apple also worked on improvements to SharePlay as part of iOS 17. The company is also working to expand AirPlay to more places, including hotels.
Beyond what’s rumored, Apple likely has other new iOS 17 features in the works. The company is generally pretty good at preventing most of its software details from leaking. This means there’s always an element of surprise during WWDC keynotes as Apple announces new features and changes.
Learn more about iOS 17 in our complete guide.
For iPad users, Apple will announce iPadOS 17 at WWDC this year. As it stands, rumors about what to expect from iPadOS 17 are pretty light. The most concrete rumor we’ve heard so far comes from Bloomberg, which reports that iPadOS 17 will include the Health app. It would be the first time Apple expanded the Health app beyond the iPhone.
There are a handful of other features that look likely for iPadOS 17 this year. Most notably, we’d expect Apple to bring the lock screen customization options, which first came to the iPhone as part of iOS 16, to the iPad this year . We can also see iOS 17’s Journaling app coming to the iPad with iPadOS 17.
Similar to iPadOS 17, there aren’t many rumors at all about what’s coming as part of macOS 14 this year. The update will likely include some of the new features of iOS 17, such as some sort of integration with the new Journaling app and access to new Find My features.
Next up at WWDC 2023, Apple will announce watchOS 10 for Apple Watch. It is expected to be a major update with a brand new user interface for Apple Watch. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, watchOS 10 will be a “fairly extensive upgrade” focused on “notable changes to the user interface.”
Key to this new design will be a newfound focus on widgets. watchOS 10 will reportedly use widgets as a “central part” of the Apple Watch’s software experience. The new design is rumored to be similar to “widget stacks,” a feature on iPhone and iPad that allows users to stack multiple widgets on top of each other and scroll through them.
According to Bloomberg, Apple Watch users will be able to browse widgets for things like activity tracking, weather, stocks, calendar appointments, and more. The new interface will be “available as an overlay for any watch.”
Apple’s focus on widgets could go as far as including new functionality for the Digital Crown hardware on the Apple Watch. In the current version of watchOS, pressing the Digital Crown takes you to the Apple Watch’s home screen. In watchOS 10, however, Apple is testing the Digital Crown to open the new widget interface instead.
Aside from widgets, watchOS 10 is also likely to include many of the new features from iOS 17. For example, features like mood and emotion tracking in Health and the Journaling app will likely have some sort of watchOS 10 integration.
Learn more about watchOS 10 in our complete guide.
tvOS 17 for Apple TV and HomePod
There are no rumors about what to expect for Apple TV and HomePod users at WWDC this year. tvOS 17 will be the latest software for Apple TV users, while HomePod software version 17 will be available for HomePod and HomePod mini.
15-inch MacBook Air
As for new hardware at WWDC, Apple is expected to launch a new 15-inch MacBook Air. Currently, the MacBook Air is only available in one screen size option at 13.6 inches, and this will be the first time Apple offers a larger screen version of its most popular laptop.
According to Bloomberg, the 15-inch MacBook Air has a screen resolution identical to the 14-inch MacBook Pro. This means that the screen will be slightly less sharp than the 14-inch MacBook Pro as the same resolution is stretched to 15 inches.
In terms of performance, the 15-inch MacBook Air is expected to use Apple’s M2 processor and offer performance “on par” with the current crop of M2-powered Macs.
The exact price of the 15-inch MacBook Air is unknown. However, considering the $500 price difference between the base 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, we would expect the 15-inch MacBook Air to carry a $500 price increase over the 13-inch M2 model. That would put the expected price of the 15-inch MacBook Air at around $1,799.
Apple Reality Pro and xrOS
Last but certainly not least, all signs point to Apple launching its long-awaited Reality Pro headset at WWDC 2023. This headset will offer both mixed reality and augmented reality capabilities and feature ultra-high-end specs and hardware.
Apple’s first Reality Pro headset is expected to be an ultra-premium product priced around $3,000. It will feature top-of-the-line specs, including an “innovative triple-screen configuration” with two 4K Micro-LED -panels. Apple is also currently working on a more affordable headphone product, but it is not expected to be ready for mass production until 2025.
The headset will reportedly be powered by xrOS, which is said to stand for “extended reality” in Apple. The software platform will support a wide range of features, including FaceTime, content consumption, gaming, the ability to build virtual worlds and rooms, and much more.
The Reality Pro headset will allow users to switch between AR and VR modes, a feature that will be an integral part of the xrOS software. The VR mode on xrOS will provide a very immersive experience. By flipping the Digital Crown-like switch present on the headset itself, xrOS will progressively transition into AR mode so users can see the world around them.
At WWDC this year, Apple will hold a number of sessions and workshops for developers to expand their understanding of xrOS. It includes topics such as creating apps for the headset, strategies for porting apps from other platforms to the headset, design guidelines for an engaging virtual reality experience, and more.
But while Apple will announce its new headset and xrOS at WWDC 2023, it’s not expected to be available for purchase until later this year.
Learn more about xrOS in our complete guide.
As you can see, WWDC 2023 is shaping up to be a massive event for Apple. Not only will the event include the annual software updates for Apple’s existing updates, but it will also introduce Apple’s first new software platform since the Apple Watch in 2014.
Keep it locked to 9to5Mac for comprehensive coverage leading up to the event. We’ll also be on site all week for WWDC 2023. What are you most excited to see at WWDC 2023? Let us know in the comments below.
Follow Chance: Twitter, Instagram and Mastodon
FTC: We use automatic affiliate links that earn income. More.