Apple’s annual developer conference introduced us to its much hyped VR headset, among a string of new products and software updates. The WWDC 2023 keynote ran fore more than two hours and featured its famous One More Thing with the announcement of Apple Vision Pro, its first spatial computing device that brings a new dimension to its existing displays.
Other announcements included a new updates to iOS 17; a 15-inch MacBook Air; a Mac Studio running its own chips – the last of its devices to do so; an M2 Ultra chip; watchOS 10; iPadOS 10; macOS Sonoma; tvOS adding FaceTime and video conferencing support via your iPhone and iPad; health insights; AirPods software updates (Adaptive Audio, Personalized Volume, and Conversation Awareness); and privacy and security updates.
I’m not taking you through every announcement in this post, there are loads of sites that have covered it. I’m just going to share what caught my eye that I’m personally excited to try.
Seeing a demo and using a product can be very different. I was impressed by what Apple showed on its Vision Pro VR headset – the naming convention is a separate topic, I’m not fond of it. Sounds very business-like. But that’s a lot of what was showcased with it.
There’s been a lot of VR entries in the market over the years – we have a PSVR headset – but could Apple make it “mainstream” like it does with its devices? The Vision Pro blends the digital with the real world and uses the eyes, hands, and voice for input.
Bits of the demo that appealed to me was the video calls and meetings on it – that would use your avatar that you enrol – seeing additional info for sports, accessing various apps optimised for it, and Disney+ being available at launch. You can also view all the pano pics from your gallery, a nice addition but hardly a main use case for it.
VR headsets are already being used in enterprise, medical and gaming industries, to name a few. I’m more interested in the type of access Apple brings to consumers. Is it aimed at consumers or more for business, or a bit of both? I am excited about this now, but I still need to interact with it to know more. It certainly has potential.
iOS 17 new features
I’m the type of person who downloads the latest iOS version the moment it rolls out, usually around 7pm on the global release day. What caught my eye and I’m excited to test or use:
- Contact Posters to control what you look like to others when you call them. I like the individuality of these customisations like with our Memojis.
- Creating stickers from images – this is going to be so fun! I already love the ability to instantly create Whatsapp stickers from iOS pics.
- Live transcriptions for audio notes feature. Sometimes I receive them and I’m not in an environment where I can listen so the transcribing of it is genius. Though, I reserve my comments until I see how accurate it is.
- An extension of AirDrop is NameDrop (naming convention is funny), but to easy share contact info with someone. This really is the evolution of business cards, but at the moment only Apple to Apple. Similarly, there is SharePlay for movies, music or games for iPhones in close proximity. I liked the example used like in a car sharing playlists or songs.
- StandBy for iPhones. I already like this for my Apple Watch when it charges, but StandBy also turns your Always On display into something for glanceable info on your nightstand.
- AirTag sharing with up to five people. This is useful for family holidays or if you’re tracking your kid with other family members. Everyone can see the location and ping it.
A much needed update is coming to the Apple Watch by getting more info at a glance, through Smart Stacks; I have these on iPhone. It will show relevant info as needed that is simplified and visual, what Apple does so well.
The compass is now 3D and shows waypoints, which helps hikers. Plus there is an update to the Hiking workout, which coincidentally something I started doing weekly in preparation for a multi-day hike I signed up for.
There’s also an update to the Cycling workout that I’m keen to test. It kind of turns your iPhone into a cool smart dashboard for your bike. You can also pair the watch to a smart bike, but that sounds very futuristic. And there’s updates to the Mental Health aspect.
All of the software updates will be available in September and I cannot wait to try them. Really hope I don’t need to buy a newer model Apple Watch to use some of these basic features.
Recharged is an independent site that focuses on technology, electric vehicles, and the digital life by Nafisa Akabor. Drawing from her 16-year tech journalism career, expect news, reviews, how-tos, comparisons, and practical uses of tech that are easy to digest. firstname.lastname@example.org