Yesterday was Apple’s WWDC 2023 keynote. Each year Apple kicks off its Worldwide Developer Conference with a few hours of just straight announcements, generally covering things from OS to watchOS to new and updated gadgets. Here you can watch the keynote stream — someone even created a BINGO game.
By now, you’ve prepared yourself with what we think will be unveiled. Now sit back and relax while the team runs down all of the biggest news in an easy-to-skim digest.
15-inch MacBook Air
Dream big indeed. It’s Apple’s largest consumer laptop.
- Three pounds and 11.5 mm thin, touted as the “thinnest 15-inch laptop to date.”
- 18 hours of battery life.
- Six speakers.
The Mac Studio, Apple’s small yet powerful desktop computer, is receiving a product update, including the silicon and replacing the M1 Max and M1 Ultra with the M2 Max and M2 Ultra.
- Roughly three times as tall as a Mac Mini.
- The main difference is that the new chip unlocks new performances.
- When it comes to the neural engine, it is 40% faster.
- Video bandwidth has been increased, which means that you can connect 8K display at a fast refresh rate.
This was a surprise announcement about the Apple Silicon–powered desktop and rack-mounted Mac Pro workstation. Get the scoop.
M2 Ultra is the most powerful Apple Silicon chip yet; however, Apple continues with its M1 playbook.
- With Ultra, the M2 version is also essentially two M1 Max dies fused into a single package.
- It is built using 5 nm technology and featuring 134 billion transistors and will feature 24 CPU cores, up to 76 GPU cores (there’s also a 60-core option) and a 32-core Neural Engine. The CPU consists of 16 next-gen high-performance cores and eight high-efficiency cores.
- One major change is that the M2 Ultra supports up to 192 GB of unified memory, backed by 800 GB of memory bandwidth.
New iOS 17 features: NameDrop, Journal app, Standby, no more “hey Siri” and more
- A new AirDrop feature called NameDrop lets you easily and seamlessly share your phone number, and even photos, with another person. Here’s how it works: When you bring your phones close together, you can choose to share your phone number and email address. You can use NameDrop with an iPhone and an Apple Watch too. Read more here and here.
- Apple is introducing a new journaling app simply called Journal. Using on-device machine learning, the iPhone creates personalized suggestions around your photos, activities, location, music, workouts, etc. Developers can take advantage of Journal and provide prompt suggestions from third-party app data. Here’s more.
- Now over to Standby, which is a new full-screen experience for your nightstand. When you put your phone down at night, you can see the time on your phone or an alarm or you can personalize what’s on the display. Standby also helps you use your iPhone as a dynamic photo slideshow device to show some of your best shots and refresh them regularly. At the office, Standby can turn your iPhone into a calendar with your upcoming events. Learn more.
- In terms of autocorrect, Apple has upgraded its autocorrect, now powered by an AI model that can more accurately predict the next words and phrases you might use. Over time, it’ll personalize, learning your most frequently used words — including swear words. Read more.
- One of the more unexpected additions from iOS 17: Apple is dropping the “hey” from “Hey Siri.” Get the scoop.
- And here’s the iOS 17 features that Apple didn’t announce on the WWDC 2023 stage.
- Apple Podcasts is getting refreshed, too. New features include an updated Now Playing interface and Queue, episode art, search filters and the ability to connect subscriptions to top apps from the App Store. Read on.
Here are some cool things coming for that thing you always have in your hand. It sometimes makes calls.
- Apple is introducing an overhaul of one of our most-used apps on the iPhone, the Messages app. Notable tweaks: ability to view transcribed voice messages and an interface change that hides away iMessage apps. A new feature includes the safety-focused “Check In” option that will allow iPhone users to let their friends and family know they got home safely — or where they were last. Also, there is a faster and more convenient search experience and the ability to view a transcription of voice messages. Learn more about Apple Messages.
- Do you like food? Well, Apple is turning your iPhone into a recipe finder. A new feature called Visual Look Up will allow users to search for recipes directly from a photo. Learn more.
- In the interests of sharing and collaboration, when iPhone users connect to CarPlay, new Apple SharePlay features enable passenger to connect their iPhone, too, to play music. Find out more.
- Interactive widgets are coming to iPhone! Get the scoop.
iPadOS 17 and new iPad features
Apple’s latest version of iPadOS is called iPadOS 17. The new version includes upgrades such as improved widgets featuring better live interactions, the Home Screen can be customized similarly to the iPhone, and there are new native apps, including the Health app and an improved Notes app. Learn more.
Now let’s take a look at new features introduced for the iPad.
The new Health app for the iPad will launch as part of iPadOS 17 later this year. Previously, the app was available only on the iPhone.
- Users will be able to see their health data, such as electrocardiogram results, on a larger screen.
- Privacy: Health data is securely synced, so you can see your health information from your iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, as well as compatible third-party apps and devices all in one place.
- For developers, HealthKit is coming to iPad, opening up new ways to build health and fitness experiences for the devices.
- Users will have more real estate when it comes to viewing health metrics, prescriptions, lab tests and more. Read more about Health.
Speaking of health, Apple also announced that it will focus on mental health with some new features for the Apple Watch and iPhone. Get the scoop.
Also, Apple is adding Live Collaboration to improve the experience of working with PDFs. Using machine learning technology, the iPad OS 17 can identify fields in a PDF so that you can fill them out quickly — that’s big for people who don’t have easy access to Adobe Acrobat. This also functions with photos of documents that you scan onto your iPad. Read more about Live Collaboration.
MacOS 14 Sonoma
Apple’s latest desktop operating system, macOS 14, is named for another California town, this time, Sonoma.
- What’s new: The desktop is getting interactive widgets and there is a game mode designed to limit distractions amid a growing selection of silicon titles.
- What else: In a nod to all of the teleconferencing we do, there is a new overlay feature that cuts out the speaker, playing them in front of a dynamic background. There are new effects like fireworks as well.
Don’t worry, AirPods were not forgotten today. Updates to these gadgets were meant to improve user experience. Enter the new Adaptive Audio feature that can blend active noise cancellation mode and transparency mode to make it easier to use noise cancellation features and still remain aware while walking down the street. Apple said that it is also working on improving the automatic switching feature. Read more.
FaceTime on your television? Yes, please! If you have Apple TV, look out for this new feature. This will use Continuity Camera on an iPhone or iPad to double as a webcam and will also use Center Stage, Apple’s AI-powered tech that adjusts the iPhone’s and iPad’s front-facing camera in video apps, to frame you while you look at the TV. Read more about the FaceTime on Apple TV.
Let’s be real — that Apple TV remote is a slippery little bugger that likes to go where it wants. If yours likes to disappear, Siri will now help you find it. Get the scoop.
Vision Pro AR headset
And here it is: Apple’s Vision Pro AR headset. It’s has a fully 3D interface, controlled by eyes, hands, and face.
- The hardware utilizes a new feature called “EyeSight,” which uses a front-facing display to reveal your eyes to other people in the room (compensating for the opaque visor. While the product is, indeed, mixed reality (owing to the need for on-board passthrough), the company seems disinterested in engaging with the virtual reality conversation.
- Interestingly, it does appear to be a work-first device focused on things like email rather than gaming. In fact, users can actually bring a version of their Mac desktop over, projected out in front of them.
- Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that Disney+ will be available on the tech giant’s new Apple Vision Pro at launch. Get the scoop.
- There is now VisionOS, the newest operating system specifically for the Vision Pro.
- TechCrunch Editor in Chief Matthew Panzarino ran through a 30 minute demo with the Apple Vision Pro, read his review here.
Apple previewed some improvements coming up to its smartwatch operating system:
- They include an updated user interface with a renewed focus on widgets, plus refreshed first-party apps and other new features.
- Why is the user interface part important? The user interface for Apple Watch hasn’t seen a sizable update in many years, and a number of top third-party apps have pulled out of the Apple Watch App Store in recent years.
- To access the new watchOS 10 widgets, you can simply turn the Digital Crown. Previously, pressing the Digital Crown on the side of the Apple Watch would take you to the home screen.
- Look out for a refresh of some of the core apps, including World Clock.