WWDC23 Keynote Summary: Operating Systems, Macs and MR Headset

A few rumors have been confirmed, with other “inside information” Apple has fooled the rumor mill. But now we have clarity, because the WWDC23 keynote is over and I have put together all the important information about the event for you. New models of the MacBook Air and the Mac Studio were presented, as well as the M2 Ultra with the latter. This is also used in the new Mac Pro. The new Mac operating system is macOS 14 Sonoma. Keep coming iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and watchOS 10 are coming our way. There are also new products for home and audio. Oh, one more thing: apple vision pro with visionOS brings AR and VR environments from $3.499.

Opening and brief information on the App Store

That lasted a little over two hours Apple event was again opened by a "Good Morning!" by Tim Cook. First up was the Mac App Store, which is currently celebrating its 15th birthday. Along with this, Apple's proprietary systems were touted. Probably because the iPhone and iPad will need to be sideloaded in the foreseeable future. You have to emphasize the advantages of the closed alternatives again. Afterwards, however, the program of the presentation was transferred: the presentation of new operating systems and devices. The Mac started things off.

MacBook Air with 15,3 inch screen diagonal

As has been announced in many rumors for months, there is now a MacBook Air that offers a 15-inch display. Thanks to the M2 chip, it is said to be the most powerful 15-inch laptop on the market. No wonder, because the MacBook Pro is only available in 14 inch or 16 inch. The device comes in four colors, measures only 1,15 cm in height when folded and weighs only 1,51 kg. Up to 2 TB of storage and 24 GB of RAM can be configured. In terms of price, we start here at 1.599 euros; the best equipment increases the price to 2.979 euros. You can pre-order the device starting today, and it will be available next week.

Mac Studio 2023 with M2 Ultra

At the beginning of the year, the two M2 improvements M2 Pro and M2 Max were introduced with corresponding models of the MacBook Pro. The combination of two M2 Max now forms the M2 Ultra. Compared to the M1 Ultra, this SoC has a 20% faster CPU and a 30% faster GPU, a 40% faster Neural Engine and can use up to 50% more RAM - namely 192 GB. Up to 22 video streams with 8K resolution are supported simultaneously. Better HDMI has also been integrated to bring this to screens. A total of up to six XDR displays are supported simultaneously. The new Mac Studio starts at 2.399 euros; with the best equipment we come to 10.319 euros. You can pre-order now and the device will be available next week.

Mac Pro 2023 with M2 Ultra and six PCIe slots

The last update for the Mac Pro came in 2019, a year before Apple made the transition from Intel chips to Apple silicon started. But now the Mac Pro has also been equipped with Apple's own chips. The new Mac Pro 2023 can be ordered with the new M2 Ultra, but at the same time also offers PCIe slots for individual expansion (sound, video, network, storage, etc.). Here, too, up to 24 CPU cores, 76 GPU cores, 192 GB of RAM, 800 GB/s memory bandwidth and up to 8 TB of pre-installed memory can be used. The power of 7 Afterburner modules is included. There are also 8 Thunderbolt ports in addition to HDMI and more. The Tower costs 8.299 to 13.819 euros; the rack costs 8.999 to 14.519 euros.

iOS 17

After the presentation of the three new Mac models, the operating systems were discussed. It all started with iOS 17 for the iPhone. In a separate post I will introduce you to the system in more detail. At this point there should be a list of the highlights so that you can get an overview quickly and easily:

  • It can now Caller Poster create, so you can specify how you want to be displayed on the called device. These combinations of images and writing will also appear in the Contacts app.
  • Live voicemail ensures that mailbox messages are transcribed in real time on the display of the called iPhone. So you can still answer quickly if it is an important call.
  • If no one answers a FaceTime call, you can use iOS 17 and later Leave a FaceTime message.
  • At the nuclear News App Is there a better search with new search filters. For catch up you can jump to the first of the new, unread messages, e.g. B. to get an overview faster in group chats. There is a transcription for voice messages so that you can read them instead of listening to them.
  • Check in notifies selected people that you have arrived home. If you stay somewhere longer (traffic jam, train has to stop, car breaks down, etc.) you get a reminder that you should perhaps let us know. If you do not react to such notifications, the selected contacts will receive a message with the last location, the battery level of the iPhone, etc. 
  • There is with iOS 17 new sharing options, including Photos, Live Photos, and Stickers. Stickers can be created system-wide and also in third-party apps from photos, objects extracted from photos and the like. 
  • NameDrop can now contact details (phone number, email address, contact poster, etc.) via AirDrop be replaced. To do this, iPhones or the iPhone and an Apple Watch are held together. This also simplifies file transfer via AirDrop. If larger files are transferred and you move away, then the transfer is continued via the Internet.
  • Intelligent input brings improvements to keyboard usage, with new machine learning-powered Auto Correct, sentence completion, and more.
  • The new journal app helps capture the day and mood. Content such as photos, appointments, fitness data, music played and more are suggested for this. You can also be reminded of journaling. The whole thing is calculated on the device, there is end-to-end encryption for iCloud and access to the Journal app can be protected.
  • stand by is a new feature that allows iPhone to horizontally display various content such as time, alarm clock, date, weather, widgets and more. For example on a MagSafe charging stand, where the iPhone is used as a bedside alarm clock. The iPhone can be used here as an alternative to a smart speaker with a display. A red and black display can be selected for the night, which does not disturb sleep.
  • Instead of "Hey Siri" is sufficient from iOS 17 “Siri” as a trigger. In addition, follow-up questions and answers should be able to be submitted without additional "Siri" (apparently that's coming Project Blackbird now for use). 

iPadOS 17

After the small and large innovations and improvements for iOS on the iPhone had been ticked off, WWDC23 Keynote the new iPadOS 17 on. The operating system for the Apple iPad also brings a few of the above, but also its own additions to the previous range of functions. Here is a first overview:

  • Lock screen customization how off iOS 16 on the iPhone, but with larger widgets as a supplement. This makes better use of the space on the larger display. Live activities can also be displayed. If timers are set, you can scroll through all of them, no longer just one is displayed.
  • Interactive widgets can be used to consume app content without having to open the app. So you can z. B. check off reminders, control home devices, play music, and much more. 
  • The Health app comes with iPadOS 17 on the iPad, for developers there is also the HealthKit for the iPad. The whole thing is then compatible with the other devices with Health App to exchange data.
  • For the Working with PDF files there are also innovations on the iPad. You can z. B. Paste in the Notes app. Multiple PDFs can be inserted per note to summarize them for individual projects. In shared notes, PDFs can be edited by everyone (marking, filling in text boxes, handwritten annotations, etc.), which is visible to others in real time. 
  • There are also improvements for the Internship Manager and for Freeform. In Freeform for example, the views of individual people can be followed. If this z. For example, when presenting, you always see the part of the whiteboard that the person jumps to.
  • If the iPad is connected to a monitor that has a camera installed, this can be used as an alternative to the iPad camera for iPadOS 17 and later FaceTime be used. 

macOS 14 Sonoma

Let's continue with the Mac and its operating system. The rumors about the name have not been confirmed, because it was neither "Grizzly" nor "Skyline" nor "Mammoth". Instead, following the usual jokes Craig Federighi has been making for over a decade and a half now, the name "Sonoma" was revealed for macOS 14. In another post there will be details presented in more detail about the system that will be released in the autumn. Here is a list for a quick overview of the innovations to be expected with macOS 14 Sonoma:

  • Some of the new features mentioned for iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 (Messages, Auto Correct, Freeform, PDF Usage, Siri, Notes, etc.) are also introduced on Mac.
  • New screensavers show slow-motion footage of specific locations around the world. These merge seamlessly into the linked background image when you wake up the Mac. This is nice to look at, but more of a gimmick than a useful innovation.
  • Widgets come native again with macOS 14 Sonoma on the desk of the Mac. When using a foreground window, the widgets become transparent so you can better focus on the open app. 
  • Widgets from a nearby iPhone (with the same Apple ID) can be used on Mac. iPhone widgets can be displayed and used on the Mac even if the respective app is only installed on iOS and not on macOS. 
  • In addition to the gaming improvements on the Mac recently made possible by Metal 3, it should in future gaming mode give. This reserves CPU and GPU usage for the video game and doesn't pay as much attention to background processes. Furthermore, the latency to AirPods (audio) and Xbox and PlayStation controllers (inputs) should be reduced when gaming.
  • Hideo Kojima then announced himself that the Death Stranding Director's Cut and future games by his company would be coming to the Mac.
  • There are new ones for video conferencing Overlay Views, so that you always stay in the foreground while presenting something. Videos and graphics are merged three-dimensionally without green screen and OBS. 
  • For Safari there are two major innovations: profiles for the classification of certain website collections (e.g. for work, leisure, university, school, etc.) as well as the sharing of passwords and pass keys with selected people. 
  • Furthermore, websites can be Web Apps on the Dock be discarded. In this way, frequently visited websites can be called up more quickly.

audio and home

What's new for AirPods, HomePods, and Apple TV were grouped together in the "Audio and Home" section during the WWDC23 keynote. Before we go to the last operating system of the day with watchOS, let's see what's new and adjusted here:

  • For AirPods there is now "Adaptive audio' as a combination of noise cancellation and transparency mode. Loud noises such as leaf blowers, construction sites and the like should be hidden, while z. B. a bicycle bell gets through. 
  • Machine Learning should be used to enable the best media playback. And when you're talking to someone, you want their voice to come through, but loud background noise should be blocked out (and the music automatically turned down).
  • For AirPlay Is there a way to ask Siri to broadcast via HomePods? Furthermore, machine learning should ensure that frequently used devices are suggested directly on the iPhone or other device when you approach them (so if you always listen to music while cooking, AirPlay is suggested when entering the kitchen, etc.).
  • SharePlay is introduced for CarPlay, so everyone in the car can add their music to the playlist. This means that one device does not have to be selected as the primary playback source and the individual titles searched for on it.
  • On the Apple TV there should be one better navigation give. The Siri remote control should be connected to the iPhone Where is? can be found.
  • FaceTime can be used via Continuity Camera on the Apple TV. It uses the iPhone's camera and microphone to transmit video and audio. You can then see the other participants in the call on the television. The whole thing can also be used for SharePlay to watch content together on the Apple TV without having to turn on the iPhone separately.

Watch 10

The new watchOS 10 will be released for the Apple Watch in autumn. A rumor that has not been confirmed is the grid view for the app selection. The apps are therefore not displayed with the same size in rows and columns and they cannot be combined in folders either. Widgets have been confirmed for this. Here is an overview of the innovations presented:

  • Widgets are called up directly from the dial using the Digital Crown. They can be scrolled through with the same. 
  • The widgets are sorted by importance, so that the next timer, upcoming appointment, or similar is right on top of the widget stack. 
  • New widgets are added by placing your finger on the display. 
  • Another adjustment concerns the world clock. Their times are now adjusted in color depending on the time of day (blue for day, dark blue for night, etc.).
  • Other apps have also undergone an overhaul.
  • The fitness app brings full-screen displays of individual values ​​and trends that can be scrolled with the Digital Crown. 
  • for Cycling and for Hiking there are also new functions. New automatic waypoints are now being added to the latter: where you were last able to send an SOS in all networks and where you last had reception in your own network. There is also one starting with watchOS 10 3D graphics for the height view of the set waypoints.
  • An new map view with information and selection for hiking trails is published first in the USA. Later it will certainly be rolled out in other countries and regions. 
  • There is a new one for third-party apps Workout API, with which the angle and speed of golf shots or tennis values ​​can be used.

mental Health

Mental health was mentioned again before the “One more thing…” started. Because this is at least as important as physical health. And that's why Apple (besides the Journal App) will include additional functions and options for it in the future. For example, questionnaires on mental health, which are also used in clinics, will be usable in the health app in the future. This way you can decide privately whether you should seek help. In addition, you can monitor how your mental health develops over time. The data is processed locally and cannot be viewed by third parties.

Apple Vision Pro with visionOS

Finally, the device everyone has been waiting for was introduced. The mixed reality headset is called “Vision Pro” and its operating system is called “visionOS”. So all the rumors were false. The device was only announced with the keyword “Augmented Reality”; there was no real mention of virtual reality or mixed reality. However, this is exactly where developments are heading. The use was described as “spatial computing”. The lightweight headset with an external battery (2 hours of running time) is technically impressive: M2 chip for complex processes and more than 4K video output per eye as well as R1 chip for real-time calculation of the sensors. Multiple cameras and sensors allow use in the room as well as operation with hands/gestures.

App windows, videos, photos and the like can be adjusted in size and position in space. Virtual environments (nature, cinema, etc.) can be used for distraction-free use. However, approaching people are displayed and they see the eyes of the user - they are shown on a curved OLED display using technology called EyeSight. The front of the device consists of a 3D-shaped glass part. However, the eye display can also be hidden to indicate that you are currently busy. If you want to present yourself virtually, for example for FaceTime, you can scan your face beforehand. This looks a thousand times better than the Meta/Facebook Metaverse nonsense.

Numerous pre-installed apps can be used that are already known from other Apple devices. In addition, almost all iPad and iPhone apps are available right from the start. But there will also be its own visionOS App Store, which is good at 3D, AR, VR and so on. Because in addition to AR, 3D content such as films and games were also widely advertised. Furthermore, you can work and interact with AR objects. There are not only the well-known developer tools such as Xcode, Swift UI, ARKit and Co., but also the new Reality Composer Pro for the Vision Pro. Examples of applications were 2D stuff like anatomy software, design tools, simulations of production lines, planetariums and DJ software in addition to 3D apps.

Two collaborations were also announced, which will come into effect from day 1 of use. With Disney+ on the Apple Vision Pro, not only films, series and documentaries will come to the headset in 4K, 3D and immersive environments. Games and AR applications for Disneyland parades in your own four walls were also shown. Apple has also teamed up with Unity to offer a large games library right from the start. In addition, it is also possible to play titles from Apple Arcade - with more complex controls, of course, with a controller. By the way, you don't necessarily need headphones to use it; speakers for spatial audio are built into the headset.

Under the 3D-shaped glass, which merges into an aluminum housing, there is not only the curved OLED display, but also several cameras and sensors. There are buttons and a digital crown on the case. The three-part lenses can be moved on the x-axis to be used with different interpupillary distances. Spectacle wearers have to have extra Zeiss lenses made that are connected magnetically. MicroOLED screens are used, which offer a total of 64 pixels in the space of an iPhone pixel. This is intended to enable a clear image without the "fly screen effect". A total of 5.000 patents are said to have been registered for the headset.

The new Apple Vision Pro headset will be available in early 2024. It starts at $3.499, which is higher than the previous rumors ($3.000 maximum). At the market launch, the headset should initially be available in the USA. Further markets will only be opened up in the course of 2024. There will be more information, technical data and pictures in a separate post later this week. For now I wish you a good night.

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.

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