WWDC 2023 Recap: iOS 17, Reality Pro Headset, and More

WWDC 2023 is just days away and it could be Apple’s biggest and most important event in a decade. At this year’s WWDC, Apple is expected to unveil a major update for iPhone users running iOS 17 and a redesigned user interface for Apple Watch users running watchOS 10. Most notable, however, is the anticipated announcement of the Reality Pro headset with AR and VR capabilities, and a new xrOS software platform.

When is WWDC 2023?

WWDC 2023 begins Monday, June 5th. Apple will kick off the week-long event with a special keynote on June 5 at 10:00 am PT/1:00 pm ET. During this keynote, Apple will announce major updates for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. The company will also showcase its Reality Pro headset and xrOS software platform.

The WWDC 2023 keynote is expected to be a pre-recorded video with high production value, beautiful videography by Apple Park and appearances from several Apple executives and engineers.

This year’s WWDC 2023 includes an in-person component for developers and members of the press. Developers have the opportunity to attend Monday’s keynote, take tours of Apple Park, and attend special sessions focused on Apple’s announcements.

Also on June 5th, Apple will announce the winners of the Apple Design Awards and has already announced a list of finalists for this year’s celebrations. Following the keynote, Apple will also host the Platforms State of the Union, which will provide more detailed information on Apple’s announcements. There will also be a special evening activity that Apple says attendees “shouldn’t miss.”

How to watch WWDC 2023 from home

For those not in attendance at Apple Park, Apple will be live streaming the entirety of WWDC across multiple channels. You can watch the WWDC keynote through Apple’s website, the Apple Developer app, the Apple TV app, and YouTube. This means you can watch the content on any device including iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV.

The Platforms State of the Union can be viewed at 1:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. ET via the Apple Developer app and website. Apple will also live stream the Apple Design Awards on June 5 at 6:30 p.m. PT/9:30 p.m. ET.

What to expect at WWDC 2023: iOS 17

First off, Apple will announce iOS 17 at WWDC this year. This will be the annual major update for iPhone users bringing new features, changes, bug fixes and much more. So what’s in store for the new features of iOS 17? That’s what the rumors say.

A Whole New Journaling App: This app is reportedly being integrated with Apple’s Find My app to create a “smart” journaling app that integrates a number of different location-based features.

New “Smart Display” mode: Apple is planning new features for the always-on display for the iPhone 14 Pro series. iOS 17 will reportedly include a new horizontal always-on lock screen interface that can display things like calendar appointments, weather forecasts, and notifications.

New Health app features: With iOS 17, Apple will reportedly add new mood and emotion tracking features. This allows users to log their mood on a daily basis, answer specific questions about each day, and track results over time. The Health app will also reportedly get new vision management features, such as the ability to save contact and glasses prescription information.

Sideloading and third-party app stores: In response to regulatory pressure in the European Union, Apple is preparing to open the iPhone to third-party app stores and sideloading for the first time. This allows iPhone users to install apps from sources other than Apple’s own App Store. These features are rumored to be part of iOS 17 but will only be available in the European Union.

Wallet App Upgrades: According to Bloomberg, Apple is preparing “significant” changes to the Wallet app as part of iOS 17. Further details on the changes are not available at this time.

AirPlay and SharePlay: Apple also worked on improvements to SharePlay as part of iOS 17. The company is also working to expand AirPlay to more locations, including hotels.

Beyond the rumors, Apple likely has other new iOS 17 features in the works. The company is generally pretty good at preventing most of its software details from being leaked. That means there’s always an element of surprise at WWDC keynotes when Apple announces new features and changes.

Learn more about iOS 17 in our complete guide.

iPad OS 17

For iPad users, Apple will announce iPadOS 17 at WWDC this year. Currently there are hardly any rumors about what to expect from iPadOS 17. The most specific rumor we’ve heard so far came from Bloomberg reporting that iPadOS 17 will include the Health app. This would be the first time Apple has expanded the Health app beyond the iPhone.

There are a handful of other features that seem plausible for iPadOS 17 this year. Most notably, we’re expecting Apple to bring the lock screen customization options that were first available on iPhone with iOS 16 to iPad this year. iOS 17’s journaling app may also come to iPad with iPadOS 17.

macOS 14

Much like iPadOS 17, there’s been little rumor about what’s coming this year as part of macOS 14. The update will likely include some of iOS 17’s new features, such as some sort of integration with the new Journaling app and access to new Find My features.

watchOS 10

Next, Apple will announce watchOS 10 for the Apple Watch at WWDC 2023. It is expected to be a major update with a whole new user interface for the Apple Watch. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, watchOS 10 will be a “fairly major upgrade” focused on “notable user interface changes.”

Key to this new design will be a new focus on widgets. watchOS 10 will reportedly use widgets as a “central part” of the Apple Watch software experience. The new design is rumored to be similar to “widget stacks,” a feature on iPhone and iPad that allows users to stack multiple widgets on top of each other and scroll through them.

According to Bloomberg, Apple Watch users can scroll through widgets for things like activity tracking, weather, stocks, calendar events, and more. The new UI will be “available as an overlay for every watch face”.

Apple’s focus on widgets could go as far as incorporating new features for the Digital Crown hardware on the Apple Watch. In the current version of watchOS, pressing the Digital Crown takes you to the Apple Watch home screen. However, in watchOS 10, Apple is testing that the Digital Crown will open the new Widgets interface instead.

Outside of the widgets, watchOS 10 will likely also integrate many of the new features of iOS 17. For example, features like mood and emotion tracking in Health and the Journaling app likely have some sort of watchOS 10 integration.

Learn more about watchOS 10 in our complete guide.

tvOS 17 for Apple TV and HomePod

There are no rumors about what Apple TV and HomePod users can expect at WWDC this year. tvOS 17 will be the latest software for Apple TV users, while HomePod software version 17 will be available for HomePod and HomePod mini.

15-inch MacBook Air

As for new hardware, Apple is expected to unveil a new 15-inch MacBook Air at WWDC. Currently, the MacBook Air is only available in a 13.6-inch screen size, and this would be the first time Apple has offered a larger-screen version of its most popular laptop.

According to Bloomberg, the 15-inch MacBook Air has an identical screen resolution to the 14-inch MacBook Pro. That means the display would be a little less sharp than the 14-inch MacBook Pro, as the same resolution is expanded to 15-inches.

In terms of performance, the 15-inch MacBook Air is expected to use Apple’s M2 processor and offer performance “on par” with the current generation of M2-powered Macs.

The exact price of the 15-inch MacBook Air is unknown. However, given the $500 price difference between the base 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, we expect the 15-inch MacBook Air to be a $500 price increase over the 13-inch -M2 model features. That would bring the expected price of the 15-inch MacBook Air to around $1,799.

Apple Reality Pro and xrOS

Last but not least, all signs point to Apple unveiling its long-awaited Reality Pro headset at WWDC 2023. This headset will offer both mixed reality and augmented reality capabilities and will feature ultra-high-end specs and hardware.

Apple’s first Reality Pro headset is expected to be ultra-premium, priced around $3,000. It will feature top-of-the-line specs, including an “innovative three-display configuration” with dual 4K micro-LED panels. Apple is also currently working on a cheaper headset product, but it is not expected to be ready for series production until 2025 at the earliest.

The headset is reportedly powered by xrOS, which Apple claims to stand for “extended reality.” The software platform will support a wide range of features including FaceTime, content consumption, gaming, the ability to create virtual worlds and rooms, and much more.

The Reality Pro headset allows users to switch between AR and VR modes, a feature that will be an integral part of the xrOS software. VR mode on xrOS offers a thoroughly immersive experience. By flipping the Digital Crown-like switch on the headset itself, xrOS gradually switches to AR mode, allowing users to see the world around them.

At this year’s WWDC, Apple will host a series of sessions and workshops for developers to expand their understanding of xrOS. This includes topics such as creating applications for the headset, strategies for porting apps from other platforms to the headset, design guidelines for a compelling virtual reality experience, and more.

But even though Apple will unveil its new headset and xrOS at WWDC 2023, it’s not expected to be available for purchase until later this year.

Learn more about xrOS in our complete guide.

Wrap up

As you can see, WWDC 2023 is shaping up to be a major event for Apple. The event not only covers the annual software updates for Apple’s existing updates, but also introduces Apple’s first new software platform since the Apple Watch in 2014.

For full coverage leading up to the event, stay tuned to 9to5Mac. At WWDC 2023 we will also be there all week long. What are you most looking forward to at WWDC 2023? Let us know below in the comments.

Follow Chance: Twitter, Instagram and Mastodon

FTC: We use income generating auto affiliate links. More.