WWDC 2023 roundup: iOS 17, Reality Pro headset, more

WWDC 2023 is just a day 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 notable of all, however, is the expected 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 will open the week-long event with a special keynote on June 5 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. During this keynote, Apple will announce major updates to 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 prerecorded video with high production value, beautiful videography of Apple Park, and appearances from multiple Apple executives and engineers.

This year’s WWDC 2023 includes an in-person component for developers and members of the press. Developers will have the opportunity to attend the keynote on Monday, 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 rundown of finalists for this year’s festivities. Following the keynote, Apple will also hold the Platforms State of the Union, which will offer more in-depth details on Apple’s announcements. There will also be special evening activity that Apple says attendees “won’t want to miss.”

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How to watch WWDC 2023 from home

For those not in attendance at Apple Park, Apple will live stream all of WWDC 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 might 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 1:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. ET. Apple will also live stream the Apple Design Awards on June 5 at 6:30 p.m. PT/ 9:30 p.m. ET.

iOS 17 devices

What to expect at WWDC 2023: iOS 17

First and foremost, Apple will announce iOS 17 at WWDC this year. This will be the annual major update for iPhone users, bringing 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 display” mode: For the iPhone 14 Pro series, Apple is planning new features 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. These will allow users to log their mood on a daily basis, answer specific questions about each day, and track the results over time. The Health app will also allegedly gain new features for managing vision conditions, such as the ability to store contact and glasses prescription information.

Sideloading and third-party app stores: In response to regulatory pressure in the European Union, Apple is preparing to open the iPhone up to third-party app stores and side loading 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. One of these changes will reportedly be a new feature that allows you to track the balances of different credit cards in the Wallet app. Currently, you can only track the balance of Apple Card via the Wallet app.

AirPlay and SharePlay: Apple has also been working 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 been rumored, Apple likely has other new iOS 17 features in the works. The company is generally quite good at preventing most of its software details from leaking. This means there is always an element of surprise during WWDC keynotes as Apple announces new features and changes.

Learn more about iOS 17 in our complete guide.

iPadOS 17

For iPad users, Apple will announce iPadOS 17 at WWDC this year. As it stands right now, rumors on what to expect from iPadOS 17 are pretty light. The most concrete rumor we’ve heard thus far came from Bloomberg, which reports that iPadOS 17 will include the Health app. This would mark the first time that Apple has expanded the Health app beyond the iPhone.

There are a handful of other features that seem plausible 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 also might see iOS 17’s Journaling app come to the iPad with iPadOS 17.

macOS 14

Similar to iPadOS 17, there aren’t many rumors at all about what’s to come as part of macOS 14 this year. The update will likely include some of the new features from iOS 17, such as some sort of integration with the new Journaling app and access to new Find My features.

watchOS 10 release date

watchOS 10

Next up at WWDC 2023, Apple will announce watchOS 10 for Apple Watch. This is expected to be a major update with an all-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.”

The 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. According to the rumors, the new design will 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 scroll through widgets for things like activity tracking, weather, stocks, calendar appointments, and more. The new interface will “be available as an overlay for any watch face.”

Apple’s focus on widgets might go as far as to include 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 having the Digital Crown open up the new widgets interface instead.

watchOS 10 is also expected to include revamped versions of Apple’s stock apps that will take better advantage of the Apple Watch Ultra’s larger display. One such app getting a redesign will be the Weather app. The new Weather app in watchOS 10 will reportedly be updated with a design similar to the Weather app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Outside of widgets, watchOS 10 will likely incorporate many of the new features of iOS 17 as well. For example, features such as mood and emotion tracking in Health and the Journaling app are likely to 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 zero rumors on 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.

Here's why a 15-inch MacBook Air would be a good addition to the Mac lineup

15-inch MacBook Air

In terms of new hardware at WWDC, Apple is expected to introduce a new 15-inch MacBook Air. Currently, the MacBook Air is only available in one screen size option at 13.6 inches, and this would mark the first time Apple has offered a bigger-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 the display would be slightly less sharp than the 14-inch MacBook Pro since the same resolution is being 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 basic 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, we’d expect the 15-inch MacBook Air to carry a $500 price increment over the 13-inch M2 model. This would set the expected price of the 15-inch MacBook Air at around $1,799.

New Mac Studio

One of the late-breaking rumors for WWDC is that Apple is prepping new versions of the Mac Studio with upgraded processors inside. According to Bloomberg, Apple is prepping two new Mac desktops with the M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips inside.

Apple is testing two Mac models codenamed “Mac 14,13” and “Mac 14,14,” believed to be new versions of the Mac Studio. M2 Max has a 12-core CPU and 30-core GPU with support for up to 96 GB of RAM, M2 Ultra will double all of those specs. The new chip will be available with a 24-core CPU, 60-core GPU, and up to 192GB of RAM. A higher-end version of the M2 Ultra has a 76-core GPU.

This will mark the first Mac desktop with the M2 Max inside, which is currently only available on the MacBook Pro. This will also be the first time we’ve seen a Mac with the M2 Ultra chip.

xrOS software

Apple Reality Pro and xrOS

Last but certainly not least, all signs point to Apple introducing 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 specifications and hardware.

Apple’s first Reality Pro headset is expected to be an ultra-premium product priced at around $3,000. It will feature top-of-the-line specifications, including an “innovative three-display configuration” with two 4K Micro-LED panels. Apple is also currently working on a more affordable headset product, but it’s not expected to be ready for mass production until at least 2025.

The headset will reportedly be powered by xrOS, which reportedly stands for “extended reality” within 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 integral to the xrOS software. The VR mode on xrOS will provide a thoroughly immersive experience. By spinning the Digital Crown-like toggle 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. This includes topics such as creating applications for the headset, strategies to port apps from other platforms onto the headset, design guidelines for a compelling virtual reality experience, and more.

But even though Apple will announce its new headset and xrOS at WWDC 2023, it’s not expected to be available for purchase until sometime later this year. Press and developers in attendance at WWDC, however, will reportedly have the opportunity to try out the product.

Learn more about xrOS in our complete guide.

Wrap up

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 onsite for WWDC 2023 all week long. What are you most excited to see at WWDC 2023? Let us know in the comments below.

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