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WWDC 2023: 10 key announcements

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  • 16 min read

Photo: Apple

The most awaited Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, commonly known as WWDC, has just finished and there’s a lot to unpack here.

Every year, tech enthusiasts, developers, and Apple fans from around the globe eagerly await WWDC, as it serves as a platform for Apple to showcase its latest innovations, software updates, and groundbreaking technologies.

Let us have a brief look at the technologies and updates announced at this year’s Apple WWDC event.

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Vision Pro headset along with visionOS

Source: Apple

As expected by many, Apple introduced the Vision Pro headset at a premium price of $3,499. Described as a revolutionary ‘spatial computer’, the Vision Pro seamlessly merges digital content with the physical world, offering users a three-dimensional interface. The headset boasts a sleek design with a polished glass front and a lightweight aluminium frame.

Its modular system ensures an optimal fit, while a separate battery connects magnetically to the side. The top of the headset features a button and a Digital Crown, allowing users to control their level of immersion in the environment. The Vision Pro features an ultra-high resolution display system, advanced camera and sensor technology, and a new Spatial Audio System. Controlled by eyes, hands, and voice, it offers a transformative immersive experience.

Under the hood, the Vision Pro boasts an ultra-high-resolution display system with a stunning 23 million pixels across two micro-OLED displays, delivering exceptional visual quality. It utilizes high-speed cameras and a ring of LEDs to track gaze accurately. Powered by the innovative dual-chip design of the M2 and the new R1 chips, the headset achieves unparalleled performance and real-time sensor processing.

visionOS frees apps from the 2D surrounding to a 3D one. | Source: Apple

A unique “EyeSight” feature provides passthrough video of the wearer’s eyes, and the lenticular OLED display ensures the correct perspective for viewers. Vision Pro can transform any space into a personal movie theatre and offers dynamic landscapes to enhance focus. It even allows users to connect to their Mac and extend its display in a virtual environment.

“visionOS features a three-dimensional interface that frees apps from the boundaries of a display so they can appear side by side at any scale,” said Apple’s press release. Apps react to lighting conditions and cast realistic shadows. The new platform helps developers to create immersive experiences, with compatibility for iPhone and iPad apps.

15-inch MacBook Air

The new MacBook Air promises to be far better than its competitors. | Source: Apple

Apple unveiled the 15-inch MacBook Air claiming it to be the world’s best laptop of its size. Packed with features such as a 15.3-inch Liquid Retina display, the powerful M2 chip, and up to 18 hours of battery life, the MacBook Air delivers on both fronts — power and portability

The Liquid Retina display comes with up to 500 nits of brightness and support for 1 billion colours. Despite its large display, the MacBook Air is slim, measuring only 11.5 mm and weighing just 3.3 pounds (1.4 kg).

The laptop comes with a MagSafe charging, two Thunderbolt ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and supports up to a 6K external display. It is available in four colours — midnight, starlight, space grey, and silver.

The new MacBook Air comes in four colours. | Source: Apple

Powered by the M2 chip, which Apple claims is 12 times faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Air. The M2 chip also enables exceptional battery life, offering up to 18 hours of usage.

The laptop also features a 1080p Face Time HD camera for high-quality video calls and a six-speaker sound system that provides Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos.

The 15-inch MacBook Air with M2 will start at $1,299 and $1,199 for education.

iOS 17 for iPhone

iOS 17 offers an array of updates. | Source: Apple

The new iOS version introduces a range of features across Phone, FaceTime, and Messages, along with improvements in input methods and a couple of exciting new apps.

The Phone app received a significant overhaul with the introduction of personalised Contact Posters, allowing users to express themselves in unique ways. Incoming calls can be customised with eye-catching typography, font colours and beautiful treatments for photos.

FaceTime will now support audio and video messages and will get more expressive with the addition of Reactions, including hearts, balloons, fireworks, and more. These effects can be activated through simple gestures, with third-party video calling apps also being able to take advantage of them. Additionally, FaceTime has been expanded to Apple TV, enabling users to initiate video calls directly from the device or seamlessly hand off a call from their iPhone.

Apple introduced a Check In feature to Messages. | Source: Apple

Messages also received new updates, including an all-new stickers experience with new emoji stickers and the ability to create Live Stickers by extracting subjects from photos. Other new features include a sleeker expandable menu for iMessage apps, powerful search filters, a catch-up arrow to indicate conversation progress, real-time location sharing, and automatic studio message transcription, among others. Moreover, Messages get a new Check In feature using which a user can notify their family members once they have reached their destination.

AirDrop also gets enhanced sharing capabilities with the introduction of NameDrop, allowing users to share contact information or content by simply bringing their iPhones or iPhone and Apple Watch together. iOS 17 also introduces StandBy, a full-screen experience that provides glanceable information when the iPhone is charging, and the new Journal app to improve well-being using the device’s machine learning algorithms.

Siri also got updated. Now, users can activate Siri by simply saying “Siri” and can issue multiple commands in succession without needing to reactivate the assistant.

M2 ultra chip

M2 Ultra promises to be the most powerful chip by Apple yet. | Source: Apple

Apple unveiled its most powerful Apple Silicon chip to date, the M2 Ultra. This announcement comes as no surprise, with the previous launches of the M2 Pro and Max earlier this year and rumours circulating about the M2 generation making its way to the Mac Studio and Mac Pro. Apple follows a familiar playbook, as the M1 Ultra also debuted as the highest-end chip for the Mac Studio.

Similar to its predecessor, the M2 Ultra is essentially two M1 Max dies combined into a single package. The M1 Ultra boasted 20 CPU cores, 64 GPU cores, and 32 Neural Engine cores, with support for up to 128GB of unified memory.

The new M2 Ultra, built using 5nm technology and featuring 134 billion transistors, takes performance to another level. It offers 24 CPU cores, up to 76 GPU cores (with a 60-core option), and a 32-core Neural Engine. The CPU includes 16 next-gen high-performance cores and eight high-efficiency cores.

A significant improvement is the support for up to 192GB of unified memory, accompanied by 800GB/s of memory bandwidth.

M2 Ultra delivers ultra-performance compared to its successors. | Source: Apple

With a CPU performance 20% faster than the M1 Ultra, a 30% boost in GPU performance, and a 40% increase in Neural Engine speed, the M2 Ultra is capable of training and running large language models without the need for a dedicated GPU, according to Apple.

Impressively, the M2 Ultra can handle up to six Pro Display XDRs, which amounts to over 100 million pixels.

New Mac Studio

New Mac Studio is a boon for creators. | Source: Apple

Apple announced a product update for the Mac Studio, its compact yet high-performance desktop computer, during the WWDC keynote. The refresh brings a significant upgrade to the device’s processing power by introducing the latest M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips, replacing the previous M1 Max and M1 Ultra models.

The redesigned Mac Studio retains its familiar form factor, resembling a taller version of the Mac Mini, approximately three times its height. However, the real difference lies in the performance capabilities enabled by the new chips. Apple claims that the M2 Max offers a 20% increase in performance compared to its predecessor, while the newly introduced M2 Ultra delivers a 20% increase in CPU performance and a 30% improvement in GPU performance over the M1 Ultra. Moreover, the M2 Ultra’s neural engine operates 40% faster, promising enhanced machine learning capabilities.

The Mac Studio with the M2 Ultra chip can accommodate up to 192GB of unified memory (RAM), and Apple claims it is six times faster than the fastest Intel-based Mac. The connectivity options have also been improved, with increased video bandwidth allowing for the connection of an 8K display at a high refresh rate. Additionally, users now have the option to connect up to six Studio Displays XDR to a single Mac Studio.

Starting at $1,999, the updated Mac Studio will be available for purchase from June 13, providing professionals and power users with a robust and efficient computing solution for their creative endeavours.

Rack-mounted MacPro workstation

MacPro Workstation can be a big boost to pro creators. | Source: Apple

Apple’s WWDC 2023 event brought a surprise for enthusiasts as the company introduced a brand new Apple Silicon-powered desktop and rack-mounted Mac Pro workstation. This release marks the culmination of Apple’s transition away from Intel processors.

Designed for high-end professionals, the Mac Pro is fueled by Apple’s M2 Ultra processor. Boasting a 24-core CPU and up to 76-core GPUs, this workstation delivers performance that is up to seven times faster than the initial lineup of the previous Intel-based Mac Pro.

The inclusion of the M2 Ultra chip allows for an impressive RAM capacity, supporting up to 192GB of unified memory—significantly surpassing the capabilities of the M1 Ultra processors. Apple claims that the system can be used for AI model training, although this may seem excessive as such tasks are typically handled by cloud-based arrays of computers rather than desktop workstations. Nevertheless, the enhanced power is a boon for video editing, 3D rendering, and high-end music studio applications.

The MacBook Pro workstation has an impressive array of ports. | Source: Apple

The Mac Pro offers a comprehensive set of features expected from a top-tier workstation, including eight Thunderbolt ports and six fourth-generation PCIe slots. While these specifications may not be immediately relevant to most users, they are critical for professionals involved in TV and live event production, enabling seamless content ingestion and output at high speeds.

Starting at $6,999, the base price of the Apple Mac Pro may escalate considerably once optional add-ons are factored in, catering to users who demand maximum performance and functionality.

watchOS 10

watchOS comes with exciting new features. | Source: Apple

Apple’s watchOS 10 for the Apple Watch showcases an updated user interface with a focus on widgets and brings refreshing changes to first-party apps such as Compass, Mindfulness, and Maps, along with various other new features.

The Apple Watch’s user interface has remained largely unchanged for years, despite the introduction of new features and larger screens in models like the Apple Watch Ultra. Furthermore, third-party apps have been leaving the Apple Watch App Store in recent years, citing that they can reach users effectively through notifications rather than maintaining full-fledged native apps.

watchOS 10 introduced various new features for cycling enthusiasts. | Source: Apple

To address this shift, Apple is emphasizing widgets in watchOS 10, allowing users to preview updates in a familiar format. Users can access the widgets by simply turning the Digital Crown, enabling them to view weather updates, calendar appointments, activity tracking, stock information, and more.

Apple is doubling down on the idea that launching apps is not the sole way to deliver information to Apple Watch wearers. The widgets in watchOS 10 offer proactive and relevant information directly on the watch face, eliminating the need for complicated watch faces.

The new watchOS 10 also brings changes to core apps like World Clock, Activity, and Maps, along with new watch faces featuring beloved characters like Snoopy and Woodstock. The update introduces the Cycling workout feature, complete with new metrics and support for connecting to Bluetooth-enabled bike sensors.

macOS 14 Sonoma

macOS 14 for Apple laptops and desktops. | Source: Apple

Apple introduced its latest desktop operating system, macOS 14, which is named after the scenic town of Sonoma in Northern California’s wine country. This new iteration brings several notable features to enhance the desktop experience.

One of the highlights of macOS 14 is the introduction of widgets, a feature borrowed from the mobile side of things. These widgets dynamically adjust to the user’s usage and do not dominate the screen, allowing users to multitask seamlessly. Moreover, these interactive widgets enable users to perform actions such as selecting images directly from the widget window.

Another significant addition is the game mode, designed to minimize distractions while playing Apple Silicon titles. Apple has also introduced a game porting development kit to facilitate the transition of existing titles to the operating system, showcasing the company’s ambition to establish itself as a serious player in the gaming space. Renowned game developer Hideo Kojima made an appearance to discuss the addition of the Death Stranding video game to the platform.

Users can personalise the widgets with their iPhones in the new macOS 14. | Source: Apple

Apple is also doubling down on teleconferencing capabilities with macOS 14. The operating system introduces an overlay feature that removes the speaker’s background and places them in front of a dynamic backdrop. Users can enjoy additional effects like fireworks during teleconferences. These features are compatible with popular teleconferencing apps like FaceTime, Zoom, and Teams.

The desktop browser, Safari, receives improvements as well, including enhanced wallpapers featuring Sonoma’s picturesque views. Safari gains new functionalities like locking for private browsing and the ability to add web apps to the system’s dock.

Apple plans to release a public beta of macOS 14 in the coming weeks, with general availability expected later this year.

iPad OS 17

iPad OS 17 brought a host of improvements to the iPad experience. | Source: Apple

Apple unveiled the latest version of its iPad operating system, iPadOS 17, bringing a host of improvements and new features to enhance the iPad experience. With this release, Apple aims to bring the iPad on par with the iPhone in terms of functionality and customization options.

One significant upgrade in iPadOS 17 is the improved widgets that offer better live interactions. Users can now customize their Home Screen similar to iPhones, featuring a rotating gallery of images, different clocks, and enhanced widgets. This brings a more personalized and dynamic feel to the iPad interface.

A long-awaited addition is the ability to interact directly with apps through Home Screen and Lock Screen widgets. Users can now perform tasks such as checking off to-do items directly from the widget, providing a more streamlined and convenient experience.

Source: Apple

iPadOS 17 also introduces the Health app to the iPad, syncing with the Health app on iPhones and Apple Watches. This native app offers a comprehensive view of health and wellness data on the iPad’s larger screen, further expanding the ecosystem of health tracking and management.

Other notable updates include the ability for iPads connected to external monitors with webcams to access and utilize the camera on the monitor. The Stage Manager app received new layouts, while the Freeform collaborative whiteboard app gained new tools and a workflow tracker for project development. Additionally, the Notes app now supports autofill for PDFs, making document management more efficient.

Apple plans to release iPadOS 17 in the fall of 2023.

tvOS 17

FaceTime comes to the TV. | Source: Apple

With tvOS 17, FaceTime comes to Apple TV 4K, so users — for the first time ever — can enjoy the popular app on their TV for even more engaging conversations with family and friends. tvOS 17 also introduces an all-new Control Center, along with other enhancements that provide a more personalized experience that works even better with iPhone.

Apple TV 4K brings together Apple TV+ and all of the most popular streaming apps — in the cinematic picture and audio quality — as well as Apple Music, Apple Fitness+, and Apple Arcade to the biggest screen in the home.

Boasting the powerful performance of the A15 Bionic chip, intuitive controls, and seamless interaction with Apple devices and smart home accessories, Apple TV 4K is the best living room device. tvOS 17 is available as a developer beta today, and it will be available as a free software update this fall.

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Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: