WWDC 2023 hardware preview: Apple mixed reality headset, 15-inch MacBook Air and more

apple mixed reality headset render
(Image credit: Ian Zelbo)

Get ready for a different kind of Apple event with WWDC 2023. Apple's annual Worldwide Developer Conference traditionally focuses on software. Sure, in the past we’ve seen new Macs, the iPhone SE and even a whole new hardware line in the form of the original HomePod in 2017, but in general WWDC is the place to see all the features coming to iOS, macOS and the like first.

At WWDC 2023, we’re expecting to see  iOS 17, macOS 14 and an exciting revamp with watchOS 10. But the word on the street is that this year's event — which gets underway Monday (June 5) — will include an absolute bounty of new hardware. 

From Apple's first AR/VR headset to a new MacBook Air 15-inch, we've outlined all the possible hardware reveals at WWDC 2023 below, and while some are more likely than others, if even a couple of these become official, this year's edition could be one of the most memorable WWDCs in history. Here’s the hardware we’re hoping to see emerge in the coming week.

WWDC 2023 hardware: AR/VR headset

3D render of the Apple VR/AR headset

(Image credit: Marcus Kane/Sketchfab)

After years of speculation, you can put Apple's AR/VR headset in the "near certain" column for a WWDC reveal. 

Rumored to be called Reality Pro and to run the brand new xrOS, the product looks set to offer both virtual and augmented reality experiences with the kind of power never before seen in a commercially available headset

But it will apparently have a price to match, with a rumored cost of $3,000 — three times that of the Meta Quest Pro, once its $500 price cut is factored in. There may also be demo sessions at the conference, featuring a new immersive version of FaceTime.

It’s a huge gamble for Apple, given the combined market for augmented and virtual reality devices is still tiny. The company hopes that the experiences it’s set to offer — which likely include 3D versions of iPad apps, workouts, games and sports viewing via Apple TV Plus — will unlock a previously untapped demand, but plenty of insiders reportedly remain skeptical.

WWDC 2023 hardware: 15-inch MacBook Air

MacBook Air M2 2022

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If anything can steal the thunder from Apple’s first new product line since the HomePod, it’s the biggest MacBook Air the company has ever produced. And the strong rumor is that Apple will debut the 15-inch MacBook Air at WWDC this year.

While the MacBook Air was once available in two sizes — 11.6 and 13.3-inches — only the latter is available now. And if you want something bigger, you have to stump up for a 14- or 16-inch MacBook Pro, and both are considerably more expensive than computers in the Air line.

The 15-inch MacBook Air would be an attempt to offer a larger screen without superfluous Pro features for those that don’t need them. That means a 60Hz screen, fewer ports, weaker audio and likely the same chip that powers the current 13-inch M2 MacBook Air (the M3 chip is said to be coming at a later date).

This more basic feature set should mean a lower price, and our discussions with analysts point to something in the $1,299 to $1,499 range. 

WWDC 2023 hardware: Other Macs

Mac Studio on desk plugged into Studio Display

(Image credit: Future)

The mixed-reality headset and 15-inch MacBook Air seem as close to nailed on as any pre-show rumors can be. But Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman believes we might see “several new Macs” at the event too.

What might these be? Well, there are no shortage of Macs that could be refreshed, if we assume anything more than a year old is fair game. The Mac Pro, for example, is something that’s still running on Intel chips and is screaming out for an Apple Silicon rebuild.

But reading between the lines, Gurman says that Apple will begin to accept trade-ins on three new bits of hardware on June 5 — the first day of WWDC. These are the M2 MacBook Air, the 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro and the Mac Studio. “Read into that what you will,” Gurman tweeted

The Mac Studio is more than a year old now and still runs on the M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips. An upgrade to M2 Max seems possible, and Gurman adds that Apple is testing an M2 Ultra too

Recently, three unknown Macs also appeared on Apple’s Find My network backend. They were listed with “separation monitoring” disabled, implying they’re desktops, so that could be the Mac Studio above, but could also be a refreshed 24-inch iMac (not updated since its release in 2021), the Mac mini (last refreshed in January 2023) or the Mac Pro (last refreshed in 2019).

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Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.