The 2023 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off on June 5, and it’s safe to say it’s one of the biggest events yet. The tech giant rolled out iOS device updates and new product announcements, including a virtual reality headset that could make waves in the tech world.
Here are the most notable additions to me.
1. Apple Vision Pro Mixed Reality Headset
By far the most talked about product at WWDC 23 was the Apple Vision Pro, a new mixed reality headset due out early next year. While AI technology seems to have cornered the tech world’s spotlight, nearly 10 years after its last big thing, the Apple Watch, Apple is leaning toward launching a new category.
Why put the Vision Pro Mixed Reality headset on your head?
The product allows users to see, hear and interact with digital content as if they were in the same room, thereby merging the physical and digital worlds. You’ll be able to shrink what you’re watching to as small as your computer screen, or as large as your room. It comes with a 3D interface that you can control with your eyes, hands and voice, and you can use your fingers to flick to scroll or tap together to select content.
Another cool thing about this new product is that when you wear the headset with EyeSight function, you will get a notification when someone approaches you. When you watch your content, people who are close to you will appear in the corner of your field of vision. Headphones can send a message so the other person can see if you’re completely absorbed in something and can’t speak yet.
Once you’re ready to talk to them, the headset reveals your eyes, letting the other person know you’re available for a face-to-face conversation. It’s a pretty weird concept, but I have a feeling a lot of people want to try it out for themselves. The Vision Pro mixed reality headset will cost $3,499 and will be available in 2024.
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2. Apple’s 15-inch Macbook Air is now the world’s thinnest laptop
The first new hardware product Apple unveiled at the conference was the 15-inch MacBook Air. With a lightweight and durable design, it’s only 11mm thick, making it the world’s thinnest 15-inch laptop and weighing just 3.3 lbs. No matter which of the four colors you choose, up to 18 hours of estimated battery life will keep you plugged in between.
It features a 1080p camera, six speakers, and four noise-cancelling woofers. The device is powered by a powerful M2 chip. Plus, it’s twice as fast as its predecessor, 25 percent brighter, and has 50 percent longer battery life than a PC. The new laptop starts at $1,299 and will be available next week.
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3. macOS Sonoma
For those who haven’t been looking for a new MacBook, a new desktop operating software called macOS Sonoma is coming to Mac computers in the fall. This latest Mac software update will give you a stunning new screen saver played in slow motion. You’ll be able to add widgets to your desktop and have your widgets fade into the background of your screen to avoid distractions while you’re working.
MacOS Sonoma also introduces new video conferencing features, including Presenter Overlay, which allows you to stay on-screen while giving a presentation during a virtual meeting, and Recenter, to automatically center yourself at all times.
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4. New privacy settings
Safari is already one of the best browsers when it comes to protecting your privacy, and there’s more to come in the fall. If you use private browsing in Safari, it locks private browsing windows when you’re not using them and prevents known trackers from loading on the page at all. Plus, it removes tracking added to URLs as you browse.
Some of the other privacy features that will be introduced include increased transparency when allowing third-party apps to access your photo library, and a new tool that will help people share specific photos with apps while keeping the rest of their library private sex.
5. AirPods update
AirPods Pro (2nd generation) will get a new and improved Adaptive Audio feature that combines transparency and noise cancellation so you can keep listening while reducing distracting noise from the outside world.
If you wear your AirPods and start talking to someone, the volume of whatever you’re listening to will automatically turn down. You can also take calls on the go and reduce surrounding noise while on the phone. Plus, when switching from listening to music to taking calls, your transition speed will be noticeably faster.
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6. Apple TV upgrade
Apple TV also gets a nice upgrade, with access to AirPod settings, home cameras, and a new Siri remote control viewfinder. You can also change the screen saver on Apple TV and personalize it with your picture. Perhaps the biggest upgrade is that people can FaceTime with their friends and family directly from their Apple TV, allowing them to chat on a larger screen.
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7. Apple watchOS 10
There will also be a new version of the Apple Watch coming this fall, with a host of expansions and breakthrough features. Some of these include the World Clock app, which changes colors based on the time of day, and the ability to easily switch and add new widgets.
Cyclists are also in luck, as watchOS 10 will include new indicators and a compatible Bluetooth setup for active cyclists. There will also be a feature called Functional Threshold Power, which will show you the intensity level you can sustain for an hour, and Power Zones, which will show you which zone you’re in and how long you spend in each zone to boost your Performance.
Perhaps the best feature is the ability to add Snoopy and Woodstock to your watch face to make you more active.
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8. iOS 17 is coming to iPhone and iPad
iPhones and iPads are also getting some major upgrades with the upcoming iOS 17 software update due in the fall. This upgrade brings some great features that I’m really excited about. These are the main ones that I can’t wait for:
The Phone app is getting a nice new feature called “Contact Posters,” where you can personalize how you appear when you call someone’s phone. You choose a picture, font, and color, and whatever you choose will pop up on your friends and family’s phone every time you call them. They can also choose their contact poster to display whatever they like when they call you.
Do you find yourself in an important meeting when you get a call and aren’t sure if you should take it? Apple now has a Live Voicemail feature that allows you to leave a voicemail and your iPhone transcribes the voicemail on your phone in real time. This way, you can learn about the other party’s incoming call, and then answer the call when you think it’s important.
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It’s certainly a feature I plan to use when it rolls out. Usually, when you FaceTime with someone who isn’t there, the call ends automatically and you have to wait for the person to call you back. However, with the iOS 17 update, you’ll be able to record a video message for anyone who misses your FaceTime call, and that person can watch it later. It’s a really cool idea, and I have a feeling a lot of people will use this feature to leave funny video messages to their friends and family.
Sending iMessages to your loved ones is about to get even more fun. First, if you need to find a specific message, the Search tab in the iMessage app is getting new filter functionality so you can search more specifically and find what you’re looking for faster.
What’s really interesting, however, is adding new stickers to iMessage. Not only can you turn emojis into stickers, but you can also turn pictures from your photo gallery into stickers. You can also add effects to stickers and react to messages sent to you with stickers. I have no doubt that everyone will be excited about this update.
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The last feature I’m really excited about with the iOS 17 update is the standby feature. This lets you turn your iPhone on its side and get a whole new view that you’ve never experienced on an iPhone before. You can easily check dates and times because you can choose which widgets to view, such as your calendar, scores from last night’s games, meal delivery times, and more. Plus, it’s equipped with a low-light mode that won’t distract you while you sleep at night.
I think Apple is making some big changes in the tech space, especially with the new 15-inch MacBook Air and a huge step up in innovation with Apple’s Vision Pro mixed reality headset.
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