Apple’s upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is expected to be one of its biggest yet. After years of rumors and leaks, Apple could finally take the wraps off of its mixed reality headset, entering the company into a new product category and giving the world a first look at its attempt to prove that virtual reality is worth investing in.
There’s also certain to be a lot more: operating system updates, new apps and features, and possibly some new hardware, too. Here, we’ve pulled together details on how and when you can watch the main WWDC keynote as well as some of the announcements that we expect from Apple.
When is the WWDC 2023 keynote?
Apple has confirmed that this year’s main WWDC keynote is slated for Monday, June 5th, at 1PM ET / 10AM PT. It will take place as a digital and in-person event at Apple Park in Cupertino, California, with Apple CEO Tim Cook expected to kick things off. You can view the full WWDC lineup here.
Where can I watch WWDC?
Apple will stream the WWDC keynote live from its website and YouTube channel. You can also watch the stream embedded at the top of this article. If you can’t watch the keynote live, you can always tune in to the prerecorded version Apple will post on YouTube after it airs.
With that said, let’s get into some of the biggest announcements that we expect Apple to make during WWDC.
The debut of Apple’s long-rumored mixed reality headset
Apple’s mixed reality headset is arguably one of the company’s most exciting products in years. While Apple still hasn’t even confirmed its existence, reports suggest that it will be capable of providing both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences.
Seemingly called the “Reality Pro,” the developer-focused headset is expected to take on a “ski goggle” look that comes with a physical dial that lets you tune in and out of virtual reality. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, it’s also supposed to feature a multitude of external sensors to support hand tracking along with sensors on the inside of the headset that track your eyes.
The headset will likely exist as a standalone device, sporting a battery pack that connects to the headset using a proprietary cable. As for its technical specifications, it’s rumored to feature an M2 chip with 16GB of RAM. Meanwhile, supply chain analyst Ross Young says the device could feature two 1.41-inch Micro OLED screens with 4,000 ppi each. Young adds that the displays are capable of delivering over 5,000 nits of brightness and that users should be able to see 4K resolution in each eye.
So far, reports suggest that Apple has been busy building VR versions of some of its native apps, including Safari, FaceTime, Apple TV, Apple Books, Freeform, and more. It may also come with a feature that allows the headset to function like an external display for your Mac. With an expected price tag of around $3,000, Apple’s headset won’t come cheap. Although Apple’s supposedly working on more affordable versions of the device as well, we likely won’t see them at this year’s event.
There have already been signs that Apple might be planning to reveal its “Reality Pro” headset at WWDC, as the company has sent out an invite to an editor at the VR-focused outlet UploadVR. Apple has also posted an AR teaser on its site, which shows a thin, film-like Apple logo with the date of WWDC wherever you point your iPhone or iPad’s camera.
A reveal at WWDC doesn’t mean we should expect the headset to ship imminently. Bloomberg has previously reported that Apple may focus on getting developers up to speed with the device in June but wait until later in the year to actually ship it. That lines up with The Information’s reporting, which claims a “fall or winter” launch date is likely.
A brand-new 15-inch MacBook Air
Apple is also expected to launch a larger 15-inch option for the MacBook Air — a device that has long featured a standard 13-inch display. We first heard about the device last year, and more detailed rumors have piled up since then.
The 15-inch MacBook Air will likely come with the in-house M2 chip used in the MacBook Air models released last year. As noted by a report from Bloomberg, it may also feature the same 3024 x 1964 resolution as the 14-inch MacBook Pro, although the screen may be a bit less sharp since it has an extra inch of space to fill in.
Along with the MacBook Air, Gurman says Apple is gearing up to release “several new Macs,” but it’s not exactly clear which ones. The company’s rumored to be working on a refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro, 13-inch MacBook Air, and a 24-inch iMac, all of which could come with a new M3 chip. Apple is also getting ready to expand its trade-in program to include the 13-inch M2 MacBook Air, 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro, and the Mac Studio on June 5th, according to Gurman, which could signal that new devices are on the way.
New features for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS
WWDC is an event for developers, which means we’re bound to see some updates to iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and more.
That includes the reveal of iOS 17, which is rumored to come with a variety of smaller quality-of-life updates. Apple already previewed the suite of accessibility features that will likely arrive with the new OS, including a Personal Voice tool that lets users create a synthetic voice with 15 minutes of training. iOS 17 may also introduce a feature that turns the iPhone’s lock screen into a smart home-style display when it’s tilted horizontally, according to Bloomberg.
Apple is also expected to include some updates for Stage Manager in iPadOS 17, the multitasking interface that my colleague David Pierce said “still doesn’t work,” even after Apple officially released it last October. The updates sound like they’re more on the technical side of things, though, and less about its general functionality.
Not much is known about what’s in store for macOS 14 and tvOS 17, but Apple is reported to be giving watchOS 10 a fairly big update that adds a new widget-heavy interface.
A mental health-focused journaling iPhone app
Speaking of iOS 17, a report from The Wall Street Journal indicates that Apple will launch a new journaling app for the iPhone that will let you write down your thoughts and activities throughout your day.
It may also provide suggestions of topics for you to write about and offer “All Day People Discovery” to keep track of who you spend time with as well as even detect when you do something you usually don’t do on a certain day. While Apple is expected to reveal the app at WWDC, the company will likely launch it in the fall.
The opening of Apple’s closed ecosystem
Apple is running out of time to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). While some of the rules have already gone into effect, “digital gatekeepers” like Apple have until March of next year at the latest to let users download third-party app stores and sideload apps within the EU, something Apple has strongly expressed opposition to over security concerns.
That’s why it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if Apple uses WWDC to preview some of the changes it’s making to its iPhone and iPad ecosystems. (Or at least quietly inform developers that the change is coming.) According to Bloomberg, Apple is looking to “overhaul” iOS in order to comply with European regulators.
In addition to allowing sideloading, speculation is rampant that Apple may no longer require third-party browsers to use Apple’s own WebKit engine, which would allow more differentiation in mobile browsers. The company could also open up access to its NFC chip, which is currently limited to Apple services like Apple Wallet and Apple Pay.
What’s next for Apple?
Apple has a ton of new Macs on deck, and while we aren’t expecting all of them to make an appearance at WWDC, it’s always a possibility. Aside from the upcoming MacBooks we mentioned earlier, we know that Apple’s working on a Mac Pro with Apple’s in-house chip, an updated 24-inch iMac, and two new models of the Mac Studio.
We’re also keeping an eye out for Apple’s next move in the AI space. While the company has remained relatively quiet about its AI ambitions, the company’s job listings indicate that it’s looking to hire people who specialize in the field. It also recently restricted employees from using ChatGPT over concerns about data leaks, which raises the question of whether it will build its own AI system for workers like Samsung is.
Of course, we can also look forward to the release of the iPhone 15 later this year. Rumors suggest that all models of the iPhone 15 will come with the Dynamic Island this time around (not just the Pro), and it could also feature a USB-C charging port (thanks to yet another EU regulation). That, however, will have to wait for September.
Update May 23rd, 12:08PM ET: Updated to add information on the full WWDC lineup.
Update May 24th, 5:19PM ET: Updated to add a rumor about an iOS 17 feature that could turn the iPhone lock screen into a smart home-style display.
Update May 26th, 9:39AM ET: Updated to add information on Apple’s WWDC invites.
Update May 30th, 12:36PM ET: Updated to add rumors about Apple’s trade-in program and an AR Easter egg.
Update May 31st, 8:58AM ET: Updated to add information about the headset’s potential technical specs.
Update May 31st, 5:20PM ET: Updated to add that Apple might be planning to reveal “several new Macs.”
Update June 1st, 5:05AM ET: Updated to add expected full launch date for mixed reality headset.
Update June 2nd, 11:57AM ET: Updated to add more details about the mixed reality headset.