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WWDC 23: Apple Vision Pro, Mac Pro, macOS, iPadOS, iOS, tvOS, visionOS and watchOS Another jam-packed WWDC has come and gone with at least one new device with interesting use cases

Week 293.0 — 5th June '23

There's a hell of a lot to cover and somehow Apple fit it all into a 2 hour keynote.

If you're here for Apple's newest device then head straight to my take on the Apple Vision Pro and you can see my pre-WWDC wishes over on Twitter.

15” MacBook Air

If I was to buy a Mac today, this would be the one for me. I browse the web and build a few websites. A bit of photo management and manipulation I guess, but this would be the device for me. Perfectly sized and powered. An equivalent 14-inch MacBook Pro would be £400 more as a minimum so it's a decent saving on something that would be overpowered for my use. Not something I would have said in the Intel era.

Some of the highlights:

  • 12x the performance of the fastest Intel chip at this size
  • MagSafe and two USB C ports (annoyingly on the same side)
  • 18 hours of battery life
  • Starting from £1,399

Mac Studio & Mac Pro

The Mac Studio gets the M2

In terms of the Mac Pro: finally. I guess?

Definitely not for me, but an interesting take on the modularity that was re-introduced with the new Intel Mac Pro. Literally the same outer casing but a M2 powered machine

  • Same design as before
  • 24-Core CPU
  • GPU with up to 76-Cores
  • Up to 192GB unified RAM
  • Up to 8TB SSD
  • 7 PCI expansion slots
  • The transition to Apple Silicon is now complete (except for an iMac Pro!)
  • From £7,699 – £12,499

Last week's The Talk Show covered the topic of the Mac Pro with the same analogy I had in mind. This is Apple's race car, in the same way that car manufacturers push boundaries and innovate with actual race cars with the technology slowly trickling down. If Apple aren't making this type of device, the boundaries aren't being pushed enough, at least in the Mac ecosystem.

Apple Vision Pro

The Apple Vision Pro brings us a mixed, or augmented, reality headset rather than a fully immersive VR headset. I briefly got to use a headset and controllers recently. It was immersive for sure, but my virtual hands driven by hand held controllers were just all too crude.

Here are some of the highlights of the Apple Vision Pro:

  • The on screen elements drops shadows onto your physical space
  • Offers partial and total immersion driven by the Digital Crown
  • EyeSight feature that shows your eyes to the outside world
  • Can work as a virtual desktop for your Mac
  • Wired device that offers up to 2 hours of battery life with an external battery pack
  • Can capture Spatial Videos
  • Custom glass inserts from Zeiss
  • 2x Micro OLED panels offering a display larger than 4K for each eye
  • Driven by 2 chips, the M2 and the new R1
  • Software sits on top of a new VisionOS
  • Optic ID to unlock the Apple Vision Pro
  • $3,499 launching in the new year

The screens are likely to be fantastically immersive for the wearer to give the wearer a sense that they're looking through the device rather than at a representation of the world around them.

Spatial videos sounds like a fantastic feature but seems odd to me that it can only be captured by the device itself. Surely this will become an iPhone feature given they all (except the iPhone SE) at least two cameras on the back and Pro models have lidar.

Apple OS updates

That's the hardware done, onto the software. Here are the highlights:

iOS 17

  • Messages, Phone & FaceTime:
    • Personalised call cards, which will work across apps thanks to CallKit
    • Transcribed voice notes in Messages
    • Live transcriptions of voicemails so you can pick up and converse if it's important
    • FaceTime voicemails
    • Check in messages feature which will help others know you're safe
    • Name Drop which works for iPhones and Apple Watch
    • Ability to drop photos too and AirDrop works for long videos too
  • Improvements to keyboard so you can now type 'fuck'
  • Easier to revert to the original letters you typed rather than what it was autocorrected to
  • Journal app coming to iPhone
    • Suggests curation
    • Control over what is and isn't included
    • Prompts you to write about the moments it has collated
  • Stand By feature, turn your iPhone sideways when charging and display relevant widgets/screens

iPadOS 17

  • More interactivity in widgets
  • Lock screen customisations, like iOS 16
  • Live Activities
  • Multiple timers
  • Health comes to the iPad

macOS Sonoma

  • Widgets available on the desktop, can include iPhone widgets too
  • Improved video conferencing capabilities, including gestures
  • Safari (I will be looking out for more on this over the course of WWDC)
    • Typography improvements on the way
    • Private browsing removes trackers and tracking parameters from the URL
    • Save web apps to your dock, like on the iPhone

AirPods, AirPlay, CarPlay & tvOS

  • Adaptive Audio to dynamically reduce sounds
  • Mute / Unmute
  • Learns your preferences (would be cool if this was not limited to AirPlay speakers)
  • SharePlay comes to CarPlay so anyone in the car can contribute
  • Improved Control Center for Apple TV (will make it possible to switch with a non-Apple remote)

watchOS 10

  • Digital Crown can bring up widgets on the home screen
  • Cycling workouts show up as Live Activities on your iPhone
  • Cellular check points on the Apple Watch
  • Topographic maps


FaceTime, surprisingly, deserves it's own highlights reel:

  • Already mentioned you can take FaceTime calls on the Apple TV
  • FaceTime also comes to the Apple Vision Pro
    • Part of the onboarding creates a 3D model of you which can use to represent you while wearing the Apple Vision Pro
    • This 3D model is available to other teleconferencing apps too

What excited me the most at WWDC 23?

In no particular order:

  • 15" MacBook Air
  • Check In feature
  • Stand By for iPhone
  • Journal app
  • iPad lock screen customisations
  • Improved Control Center for Apple TV
  • FaceTime on Apple TV

I don't see myself as an Apple Vision Pro user. Spatial Videos sound cool, but having to wear the device to capture them is odd, in my opinion. I don't think Apple Vision Pro is the device to judge the space on. If or when Apple come up with a sans-Pro device, that will be the time to start looking at it as something worth buying.

Overall, it was a very interesting WWDC with so much to look at and talk about. I'm not currently in the market for a new Mac, but I now know what I'd go for. Software wise, it's very impressive and I'm looking forward to the autumn releases.

More from 1 Thing A Week
« Full Frame with Becca Farsace My WWDC 2022 wish list What's coming to Safari 17? »



Quick links and commentary on interesting articles, videos and more throughout the week.

  1. 293.1 – Monday
    1. Tiny Electronic Desktop Sculptures kottke.org
  2. 293.3 – Wednesday
    1. Apple previews new features coming to Apple services this fall apple.com

Jump to notable items for Week #292, Week #294 , view the notable archive or my favourites.

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