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WWDC 2023 recap: All the big announcements

Here's all the big news from WWDC 2023, including Apple's very first mixed-reality headset

Apple Vision Pro at wwdc 2023
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

The WWDC 2023 keynote today (June 5) gave Apple a chance to spell out its vision for the future — both short-term in the form of software updates that will be coming later this year and longer-term as represented by its brand new mixed-reality headset.

It's that product, dubbed the Apple Vision Pro, that figures to be the most remembered announcement from today's news-packed keynote, even though the headset won't ship until next year at a if-you-have-to-ask-you-can't-afford-it price of $3,499. Apple says the Vision Pro is the first step in a new product category it's called spatial computing, and really this first headset seems like a way to get developers interested in building software for a virtual world.

Whether consumers share that interest won't be evident until the Vision Pro goes on sale in early 2024, but Apple touts it as a multipurpose device, letting you watch movies in more immersive way, have video chats with people floating right in front of you and capturing photos and videos that are more layered — all without shutting you off from the real world.

But Vision Pro was just one product shown off by Apple. The company also rolled out three new Macs, completing the transition of its computers from Intel chips to Apple silicon. And we saw previews of the software coming to iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watches and Apple TV set-top boxes later this fall.

Here's a round-up of all the big WWDC 2023 announcements.

WWDC 2023: What Apple announced

Apple Vision Pro: Apple's $3,499 mixed reality headset isn't going to wind up adorning everyone's head — not at that price — but it's an intriguing entry into the world of augmented reality. While the headset allows you to immerse yourself in a virtual world to watch movies on a giant virtual screen, with the twirl of a digital crown, you can also see the world around you.

The Vision Pro runs on the new visionOS software and you control the headset with gestures as well through voice commands and eye-tracking. A separate battery pack keeps the device powered up, without weighing down the Apple Vision Pro on your head.

MacBook Air 15-inch: Apple has gone with a bigger-screen version of its popular Air laptop. The design is similar to current MacBook Air models, but with a larger 15.3-inch display. At 11.5mm, Apple says this is the thinnest 15-inch laptop available, and it weighs in at a lightweight 3.3 pounds. Starting at $1,299, the 15-inch MacBook Air comes in a choice of four finishes while running on an M2 chip.

Mac Studio: The second edition of this desktop has been upgraded to run on your choice of an M2 Max or M2 Ultra chip. The latter is a new member of the M2 family, powered by 24 CPU cores and up to 76 GPU cores. HDMI connectivity is also improved on the Mac Studio, which keeps the original's $1,999 starting price.

Mac Pro: The Mac Pro desktop is the last Mac to get Apple silicon, completing Apple's transition away from Intel chips. It runs on the M2 Ultra chip and features more connectivity — there are eight built-in Thunderbolt ports, doubling the amount on the old Mac Pro. Apple's desktop also has six open expansion slots. The Mac Pro's starting price is $6,999.

iOS 17: This year's iPhone software update isn't as extensive as what we've seen in recent years, but there are still some noteworthy changes in iOS 17. There's a new Journal app that prompts you to record your observations and feelings, while a Standby feature turns your iPhone into a smart screen. The Phone, Message and FaceTime apps also see notable upgrades, while the Health app adds a focus on mental health.

iPadOS 17: Those same features you see in iOS 17 are also making their way to the iPad, which is adopting some of the best elements of iOS 16 for Apple's tablets. With iPadOS 17, you'll be able to customize your lock screen and add widgets. Even better, the widgets are interactive. The Health app is coming to the iPad as well, and the Notes app is gaining the ability to edit PDFs.

macOS Sonoma: We now know the official name for macOS 14. We also know the updated Mac software will let you drag widgets out of the notification center. In addition, video effects are coming to FaceTime, user profiles are coming to Safari and a Game Mode should improve the Mac gaming experience.

watchOS 10: The Apple Watch software is redesigning how you interact with the watch via widgets. Turn the watch's digital crown, and you'll get a smart stack of widgets showing things like activity, weather, and more. A long press lets you add a widget to the stack. In addition, the Health is getting a mental health focus by letting you long your mood in the Mindfulness app.

tvOS 17: If you were expecting a minor tweak to tvOS, you were in for a surprise. The Apple TV software is adding FaceTime support that lets you move FaceTime conversations from your iPhone or iPad to the big screen. Other additions include the ability to find your remote from your phone and a new control center.

Watch the WWDC 2023 keynote

If you missed the keynote, you can go back and watch the event on YouTube.

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wwdc 2023 live blog tim cook and laptops

(Image credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

If you’re the sort of person who wants to remove all uncertainty from your life, head over to Bloomberg’s WWDC preview, where Mark Gurman gives a rundown of what he’s expecting during Apple’s keynote today. Since Gurman is pretty wired into Apple’s comings and goings, we’d imagine the forecast is pretty close to the mark.

The predictions reiterate a lot of the widely held expectations for WWDC — a new Apple headset, at least two new Macs and a boatload of software previews — but there are some interesting tidbits scattered in there.

  • We’re only getting a preview of the Apple VR/AR headset today, without a ship date. The headset could ship later this year, or Apple could even push things back into early 2024.
  • Apple is going to “spend a notable amount of time on the Mac” during the keynote, Gurman says.
  • The new Mac Studio will run on either an M2 Max or M2 Ultra chip. The former can be found in 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, while the Ultra is a new chip with 24 CPU cores and up to 76 graphics cores.
  • Don’t expect many macOS changes – most of the new features will be aimed at adding compatibility with comparable iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 features.
  • SharePlay in iOS 17 is getting enhancements tied to the new Apple headset.
  • The Health app is coming to the iPad.

We'll see if those predictions pan out later today.

3D render of the Apple VR/AR headset

(Image credit: Marcus Kane/Sketchfab)

There's likely to be one dominant story out of WWDC this week, and no, it's not the tvOS 17 update. Instead, we expect much of the talk to center around the Apple mixed reality headset that's likely to get a preview during the WWDC 2023 keynote.

It's a big moment for Apple and not just because this is the first new product category the company has tried to enter since the Apple Watch nearly a decade ago. Rather, it's because the VR/AR market has yet to go mainstream, and the thinking is that if anyone's ever going to popularize these headsets, it's likely to be someone with the reach of Apple.

Here's Mark Spoonauer on how the Apple headset is a make-or-break moment for VR and AR.

MacBook Air M2 2022

The 13-inch MacBook Air M2. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There’s been a lot of talk about a 15-inch MacBook Air making its debut at WWDC 2023, presumably to give people a larger-screen option if they’re not willing to pay up for a MacBook Pro. It’s a fine idea in theory, but computing editor Alex Wawro isn’t sure a 15-inch MacBook Air is a good idea, arguing that it complicates Apple’s laptop lineup. 

Siri Voysis

Siri awaiting a command on an iPhone. (Image credit: Future)

If a late-breaking iOS 17 rumor is accurate, you’ll soon be able to cut to the chase in your conversations with Siri. Currently, you have to say “Hey Siri” to summon the virtual assistant on your phone, but reports claim iOS 17 will allow you to just say “Siri” when you want to grab the assistant’s attention — no more “hey” required.

That may not seem like a big deal, eliminating a single word, but it would bring Apple’s Siri in line with the likes of Amazon’s Alexa when it comes to a single wake world. And Google phones running on the Tensor G2 chip — think Pixel 7 and Pixel 7a — have been able to eliminate the “Hey Google” wake word on some tasks like turning off alarms and answering phone calls. So chalk this up to Apple making its own effort to streamline the way you interact with its virtual assistant.

iOS 17

(Image credit: Rafapress/Shutterstock)

As soon as Apple finishes previewing its various software updates last year, it’s going to make beta versions available. But these are going to be developer betas, so unless you’re paying Apple $99 a year to participate in its developer program, you aren’t going to be able to get your hands on that software. Instead, you’ll have to wait for the public betas.

So how long will that wait be? There’s no way of telling, though Apple’s track record after recent WWDCs does give us some clues. Typically, the public betas for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and tvOS show up several weeks after WWDC. That would mean the earliest we’d see any sort of public beta would be in the last week of June. 

Our guide to the potential iOS 17 release date goes into greater detail. And of course, we’re expecting to see final versions of all those assorted software updates go live in the fall. 

watchOS 10 homescreen leak

(Image credit: @analyst941)

The big change coming to watchOS 10 is reportedly an overhaul to the user interface of the Apple Watch software. Specifically, Apple could be planning to implement a new widget system for the watch that’s designed to give you personalized information about activities, weather, upcoming appointments and more.

Kate Kozuch is our in-house Apple Watch expert, and she thinks the changes on tap for watchOS 10 could make it the biggest Apple Watch upgrade in years. 

apple mixed reality headset render

(Image credit: Ian Zelbo)

Among the Apple AR/VR headset's features, Apple may focus heavily on a virtual-reality take on a familiar app: FaceTime.

Reporting from Bloomberg claims that the headset's version of Apple's big new product will feature digital avatars for video conferencing, collaborative whiteboard tools and more. We can apparently expect VR gaming and Apple TV content too.

CarPlay at WWDC 2022

(Image credit: Apple via YouTube)

CarPlay is likely to be featured among Apple's expected raft of software updates today at WWDC, and there are some big things to possibly look out for.

For one, we expect to see more cars confirmed as compatible with the new enhanced version of CarPlay, which is able to read data from the vehicle itself as well as your iPhone. There are currently very few cars that work with the combined infotainment/HUD display that CarPlay can support.

We also wonder if Apple will have any big new features to show off. With some car makers trying to abandon CarPlay and Android Auto in favor of a home-grown interface, Apple could do with making a case for why manufacturers are better off continuing to license its tech instead.

apple vr and mixed reality headset fan render front view on blue background

(Image credit: Ian Zelbo)

According to one leaker who's allegedly seen the design of Apple's new AR/VR headset, we can expect to see some AirPods Max design elements appear on the device.

This will seemingly include the presence of both a button and a Digital Crown for external controls, and the overall curved shape of the headset.

A screenshot of the Apple Store, down before WWDC 2023

(Image credit: Apple)

If you go to the Apple Store website now, you'll be greeted with the above message telling you that it's not online at the moment. This is what Apple normally does before a big update to the store, such as adding new products.

Hopefully, this means we'll find the rumored new 15-inch MacBook Air, Apple AR/VR headset and other new Mac products available to look at (if not pre-order or purchase) shortly after the WWDC keynote concludes.

Mac Studio on a table, side on

(Image credit: Future)

It figures to be a big day Macs if pre-WWDC rumors are anything to go by. We’ve heard reports that as many as three new Macs could show up today. And one of those rumored Macs — the Mac Studio — could introduce new Apple silicon in the form of the M2 Ultra chip.

What to expect from the M2 Ultra? Well, based on a Bloomberg report, the Ultra could feature 24 CPU cores and up to 78 graphics cores. The M2 Max tops out at 38 graphics cores.

An M2 Ultra would certainly make sense for any new Mac Studio. After all, the original Mac Studio introduced us to the M1 Ultra when it debuted last year. 

A screenshot of No Man's Sky on macOS

(Image credit: Hello Games)

Expect to hear more about No Man's Sky on macOS at WWDC 2023. The massive sci-fi space exploration game came out on Macs last week, but we'd not be surprised if it's used as a way to demonstrate gaming on the Apple VR/AR headset. 

And we'd posit that this could be the tip of the spear to true gaming on Macs. Given the power of the Apple Silicon chips, including how surprisingly capable the MacBook Air M2 is at gaming, it would seem a decent bet that Apple will talk about gaming at WWDC 2023.

(L to R) Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso, Brett Goldstein as Roy Kent and Brendan Hunt as Coach Beard in Ted Lasso season 3's trailer

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus via YouTube)

If you find yourself on the Apple campus today for the WWDC keynote, a treat awaits you at the Apple Park visitor center store — sweet Ted Lasso merch.

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The shirts seem to be exclusive to the physical store at the moment, but Mark Gurman says Ted Lasso merchandise should be coming to the Apple online store at some point in June. Now, if you really love me, you’ll get a Dani Rojas jersey in the AFC Richmond home kit colors. 

iOS 17

(Image credit: iOS 17 / Shutterstock)

So, what exactly will be coming to iOS 17? Most significantly, a new "smart" lock screen that displays more than just notifications looks to be in the next version of Apple's phone OS. Other new features include a revamped Wallet app, Emotion tracking, more AirPlay access, and even the ability to sideload apps — at least in the EU. For more, be sure to check out the 7 biggest iOS 17 rumored features coming to your iPhone

Our U.S. Editor-in-chief Mike Prospero hopes that the smart lock screen will turn the iPad into a real smart home hub, like the Amazon Echo Show 15. 

3D render of Apple VR/AR headset

(Image credit: Marcus Kane/Sketchfab)

Apple's new AR/VR headset will also bring with it a new operating system, which might either be called realityOS or xrOS, depending on the rumors you give the most weight. In fact, Apple might use both terms — realityOS for an iPhone-like platform, and xrOS more like a MacOS system for more powerful applications. To muddy the waters further, Apple also applied for a trademark for xrProOS

However, only xrOS has popped up as of yet, which developer Steve Troughton-Smith saw in an error message while in Apple Store Connect.

According to Bloomberg's Marc Gurman, the new operating system — whatever it's called — will look similar to iOS, and will have mixed-reality versions of Apple's apps, such as Safari, Calendar, Maps, Messaging, Notes, Photos, and Music. Other features might include a VR FaceTime, immersive video and Apple Fitness, and integration with Apple's other hardware. 

Image of iPhone camera on a Mac as a webcam

(Image credit: Apple)

News on the next version of macOS, macOS 14, has been very limited. That's likely just how Apple wants it, but it does mean we've got no idea what to look out for during the WWDC keynote.

macOS Ventura was last year's installment of Apple's computer software, and introduced some big new features like Continuity Camera (pictured) and Stage Manager, perhaps indicating that this year's release will be a smaller one. Considering the large number of new Macs that have been tipped to be announced at WWDC though, maybe Mac fans won't be too starved for news after all.

WWDC 2023

(Image credit: Future)

We're at Apple Park! Even though the event won't start for another two hours, a line has started to form. The devs in the queue are definitely excited, as they're chanting "When I say DUB DUB you say DC!" 

It's currently a pleasant 57 degrees Fahrenheit and cloudy in Cupertino today, with an expected high of 77 degrees. 

In addition to this blog, be sure to check out Tom's Guide's TikTok channel for updates and videos on what we see today. 

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Hey, Tim Cook and I have something in common — we both post things on Twitter when people are expecting us to be working on something else.

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And you shall know us by the color of our badges.

Subscription management in the current version of iOS 16

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

We can file this under Things That Definitely Won't Happen Today, but I would like to repeat my humble request that iOS 17 add a standalone Subscriptions app to help you better manage all those apps and services you're paying recurring fees to. Subscriptions have become a huge part of the iOS experience, and I think it would be a win for everybody if Apple found a way to help us get a handle on all those monthly fees we're doling out.

At least it sounds like there will be some money-management features in iOS 17. Specifically, as part of the rumored Wallet app overhaul, a Bloomberg report claims that Apple could start showing balance information for third-party credit cards, just like it does for the Apple Card.

realityOS for apple headset

(Image credit: Antonio DeRosa)

Good news — maybe the Apple mixed reality headset we're going to see today won't cost you an arm and a leg after all. Instead, it will just cost an arm.

Or at least, that's what a late-breaking report on the Apple headset's price claims. According to a Naver post by user Yeux1122, the Apple headset is going to cost $1,999 instead of that $3,000 figure that's been bandied about. Is a rumor from someone identified only by a seemingly random string of letters and numbers something you really want to bank on? Probably not, but we'll find out soon enough what the headset costs.

By the way, that same poster also cautions that the headset will not be called the Apple Reality Pro as has been widely assumed. Instead, the potential name would be the Apple XR. Please adjust your keynote expectations accordingly.

breakfast at wwdc 2023

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Make sure you load up on a healthy breakfast prior to today's WWDC keynote. Why, I would never think of live-blogging without first getting my fair share of... <squints>... smoked sturgeon toast.

Apple Mac Studio front

(Image credit: Future)

A reminder in case Apple shows off any Mac hardware today that immediately leaps to the top of your must-have list — the company is expected to start accepting trade-ins of some additional models later today, which could help you lower the cost of your new Mac purchase.

The rumor from last week claimed that you'll be able to trade-in the M2 MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and original Mac Studio — the rumor, in fact, has been taken as a sign that we're going to see a new Mac Studio at WWDC.

At any rate, we'll be posting a guide on pre-ordering any new Mac hardware, once those announcements go live, so be sure to check out Tom's Guide for the best Apple deals.

@tomsguide

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If you're wondering what it's like to attend a Worldwide Developer Conference in person, join Kate Kozuch on a video tour of the venue.

Mark Spoonauer at WWDC 2023

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

We've heard a lot from Kate Kozuch in Cupertino, today, but she's not the only Tom's Guide staffer on the ground for the WWDC keynote. Mark Spoonauer is there, too, ready to go hands-on with whatever product Apple shows off today, virtual or otherwise.