Apple’s big keynote presentation to kick off WWDC 2023 was over two hours long. I’m as excited about new products as the next person, but who has that kind of time? If you want to catch up on everything Apple announced but don’t have two hours to watch the video, we’ve got your back. Here’s a quick summary of the announcements, with links to our further coverage when you want to dive in and learn more.
15-inch MacBook Air
The M2 MacBook is getting a big brother, as we’ve long suspected. It’s essentially identical to the 13-inch M2 model, only with a bigger 15-inch display. Prices start at a very reasonable $1,299, and the 13-inch M2 MacBook Air gets a price drop to $1,099.
Apple kept the Mac segment going with updates to the Mac Studio to support M2 Max and M2 Ultra. While the M2 Max could already be found in the 16-inch MacBook Pro, M2 Ultra is new. Just like M1 Ultra, M2 Ultra is basically two M2 Max chips bonded together with a super-fast interconnect.
Mac Studio with M2 Max starts at $1,999 and with M2 Ultra at $3,999.
The Mac Studio with M2 Ultra not enough Mac for you? Apple finally completed its transition to Apple Silicon with a new Mac Pro. It’s built into an enclosure identical to the Intel-based model but sports an M2 Ultra, eight Thunderbolt ports, and six PCIe gen 4 slots.
The slots support upgrades like storage, networking, and A/V interfaces, but it doesn’t appear that you’ll be able to upgrade the RAM or graphics in the Apple Silicon Mac Pro.
Prices start at $6,999, exactly $3,000 more than the similarly-configured Mac Studio.
Naturally, Apple will be updating iOS on a billion iPhones this fall, and iOS 17 brings lots to be excited about. There’s a new contact sharing and airdrop experience where you just bring your iPhones near each other, custom contact posters, a brand new autocorrect using new technology and interface, live real-time voicemail transcriptions, a new StandBy mode for charging stands, and much more.
The customizable lock screen from iOS 16 comes to iPad, but there’s more, like interactive widgets (also in iOS 17), improvements to Stage Manager, FaceTime, Live Activities, and the Health app just to name a few.
The name for version 14 is macOS Sonoma, and it includes widgets anywhere on the desktop, Game Mode and a new game porting kit for developers, big updates to Safari, slow-motion video screensavers, and more. Plus, of course, most of the core features of iOS and iPadOS, like improved autocorrect and PDF autofill, are coming to macOS as well.
If you have 2nd-generation AirPods Pro, they’ll get a new Adaptive Audio mode that blends together transparency and noise-canceling. It cancels the annoying background noise but allows significant sounds to come through. Conversation Awareness lowers the volume of what you’re listening to and enhances the sounds of people speaking with you in front of you. Personalized Volume uses machine learning to learn your volume preferences with different kinds of content and environmental conditions. Automatic Switching between Apple devices is faster and more reliable, and with AirPods Pro, Max, or 3rd-gen AirPods you can mute or unmute yourself when on a call with a quick squeeze of the stem (or tap of the Digital Crown on AirPods Max).
AirPlay is getting smart, with Siri suggestions based on how you start AirPlay sessions from your iPhone or iPad. AirPlay is coming to hotels–you’ll be able to scan a QR code on the hotel TV and connect to it via AirPlay with your iPhone or iPad to easily stream your own content.
Apple Music and CarPlay collaborative playlists
This fall, SharePlay is coming to CarPlay. When you connect your iPhone to CarPlay, passengers in your car will get prompted on their own iPhones to join the session. Then they can control playback, add tracks, and so on.
There’s an all-new Control Center in tvOS 17, you can use your iPhone to locate your Siri Remote, and more. But the big new feature is FaceTime on Apple TV. It uses Continuity Camera like macOS does, to wirelessly connect to your iPhone and use it as your camera and microphone. It works simultaneously with SharePlay too, so you can watch content in sync together while on your FaceTime call.
The Apple Watch is getting a big overhaul in watchOS 10. Scrolling the crown from your watch face shows a smart stack of interactive widgets. The apps themselves have been redesigned throughout watchOS. There are new features in workouts like Cycling, Hiking, and new workout APIs for third-party developers. You can log your mood in the mindfulness app, and the watch will be able to tell how much time you spend in daylight.
The biggest part of the keynote was devoted to “One More Thing”: Apple Vision Pro, the poorly-kept secret of Apple’s big mixed reality headset.
It sports a pair of incredibly high-resolution micro-OLED displays (greater than 4K per eye!), a curved OLED external display so others can see your eyes, a crazy number of sensors and cameras (12 cameras, five sensors, and six microphones), and is powered by two main chips: an M1 processor and a new R1 processor that handles all the sensor data in just a few milliseconds to avoid latency.
This is Apple’s next big computing platform. As the Mac introduced personal computing, and the iPhone portable computing, Vision Pro is meant to introduce spatial computing.
It’s loaded with features, from new ways to enjoy video content in a virtual theater, the ability to run all your favorite apps simultaneously in floating windows of whatever size you want, new ways to use FaceTime and SharePlay, a virtual Mac display, taking and viewing 3D photos and videos, and so much more. There will be an App Store of course, with custom Vision Pro apps as well as thousands of compatible iPhone and iPad apps.
Naturally, all this insane technology doesn’t come cheap. Apple Vision Pro will start at $3,499 when it is released in the spring of 2024.