This year’s Worldwide Developers Conference didn’t disappoint. During today’s keynote, Apple showed off its highly anticipated mixed reality headset for the first time, confirming many of the rumors that have emerged over the past several months.
While Apple’s Vision Pro headset took the spotlight this time around, the company made some other exciting hardware and software-related announcements as well. Here’s all the big news from the event.
Apple announces its Vision Pro mixed reality headset
Apple has finally revealed its Vision Pro headset. The device, which lets you partake in both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences, is designed to combine the real and digital worlds both for the wearer and those around them. The primary interface displays apps over top of the real world for the wearer; meanwhile, people nearby can see the wearer’s eyes through the device using an external display feature that Apple calls EyeSight.
The device is powered by two chips: the M2 and a new R1 chip for real-time sensor processing. According to Apple, the Vision Pro features a single strip of glass on the front of the device, along with a digital crown that lets you switch in and out of AR and VR. It also comes with support for spatial audio through built-in speakers and an external battery pack that’s capable of lasting two hours with a single charge.
The Vision Pro is priced at an eye-watering $3,499, and it won’t be available until early next year.
visionOS is Apple’s new VR operating system
Apple’s Vision Pro headset will run on a completely new operating system called visionOS. This allows the device to layer virtual apps and icons atop the real world, allowing you to use eye tracking, your hand, and voice to navigate through the system.
As shown off during WWDC, you’ll be able to use Apple’s Vision Pro headset to interact with the company’s native apps, such as Safari, FaceTime, Photos, Music, and more. You can even use the device as an external display for your Mac, play Apple Arcade games, watch movies, as well as capture videos.
A bigger 15-inch MacBook Air
In addition to the Vision Pro headset, Apple also revealed a new MacBook Air with a 15.3-inch display. That’s a pretty big upgrade to its MacBook Air lineup, which has only featured 13-inch displays up until now.
Apple is marketing the device as the “world’s thinnest” 15-inch laptop and says it weighs just a little over three pounds. The device comes with up to 18 hours of battery life, 500 nits of brightness, and a 1080p webcam. It costs $1,299, and you can order it today, with availability starting next week.
The Mac Studio and Mac Pro get an upgrade with a more powerful M2 Ultra chip
Both the Mac Studio and Mac Pro are getting Apple Silicon-powered upgrades. During WWDC, Apple announced that its latest versions of the two desktop devices will have the new M2 Ultra chip, a component that has an up to 24-core CPU and up to 76-core GPU.
The Mac Studio, which Apple calls a “performance powerhouse,” will come with options for either an M2 Max or M2 Ultra chip. The Mac Pro, on the other hand, features only the M2 Ultra chip, as well as the option for PCIe expansion. While the Mac Studio starts at $1,999, the Mac Pro starts at $6,999.
A mental health-focused journaling app
Apple has a new app for iOS, and it’s called Journal. As its name implies, Journal will encourage you to log your thoughts about recent activities or trips. Apple says the app is secured with end-to-end encryption and that your logs are stored locally on your device. The app will arrive later this year.
iOS 17 adds a new StandBy display mode and several other features
Along with a new journaling app, Apple revealed a number of new features for iOS 17. Most notably, that includes a new StandBy feature that turns your iPhone’s screen into a smart home-like display when it’s tilted horizontally while charging, allowing it to display essential information, like the time and date.
Additionally, iOS 17 will support transcription for voice messages, have a new safety-focused Check In feature that lets you share your location with someone you’re meeting, and come with a NameDrop feature that allows you to easily share your email address or phone number with another iPhone user. Oh, and Apple’s dropping the “Hey” portion of its “Hey, Siri” trigger phrase.
Apple brings interactive widgets to iPadOS 17
With iPadOS 17, Apple is adding new interactive widgets that let you quickly access apps and features from the homescreen. There are also updates for the device’s Notes app, which will now be capable of detecting the fields in a PDF. It will also let you work with others in real time to organize and annotate PDFs.
Those aren’t the only updates coming with iPadOS 17. It will also feature a personalized lock screen, just like on iPhone, and will finally come with the Health app.
macOS Sonoma gets desktop widgets — and Death Stranding
Apple announced some visual upgrades to macOS Sonoma, which will now support widgets that you can add to your desktop, along with new moving screensavers that you can also use as your wallpaper. There are some new features for Safari as well, which let you create and pin web apps to your Dock, as well as make profiles for different browsing sessions.
Apple is also introducing a new “game mode” for macOS that will prioritize the GPU and CPU while gaming on a Mac and offers lowered audio latency on AirPods. As part of Apple’s push into gaming, developer Hideo Kojima also announced that Death Stranding (and some of his other games) will arrive on macOS.
Apple brings widgets back to watchOS 10
As you can see from the above announcements, widgets were pretty big at this year’s WWDC. They’re even coming to watchOS 10, which you can browse through for an at-a-glance look at various information by turning your watch’s digital crown. Apple is also adding several new watch faces, a way to measure how much time you spend in the daylight, cycling features, and trailhead information for hikers.
FaceTime is coming to Apple TV
Apple will soon let you use FaceTime on Apple TV. The new capability leverages the iPhone’s Continuity Camera, allowing you to use your iPhone as a substitute for a webcam as you see and chat with the people you’re meeting with from your TV. It will even ensure that you’re in the frame using Center Stage.