Apple's World Wide Developers Conference officially kicks off today at 10am PT in Cupertino, California, when its smiling CEO Tim Cook saunters on stage and says, "Welcome to WWDC 2023!" (That's 6pm BST / 1pm ET and 3am ACT (on June 6) for those of you not in California.)
As for what else he might say, well, we think we know quite a lot. Cook will briefly touch on all of Apple's major and critical platforms, including iOS 17, macOS 14, tvOS 17, iPadOS 17, and watchOS 10. This being a developers' conference, he'll also mention Swift and Xcode.
Granted, Cook's job is not to dive deep into anything. He'll leave that to, in large part, Craig Federighi, Apple's SVP of Software Engineering, and a host of other development leads. By the way, if Apple follows the script from the last few years, even though this is an in-person event, much of the presentation may be pre-recorded.
No one is expecting sea changes across any of these platforms. watchOS with widgets is not a major deal. iOS 17 is about maintenance and spiffing up the entire iPhone OS without fundamentally altering it. macOS 14 might have even fewer changes.
Let's be frank, the real excitement here will be around the likely reveal of the Apple VR headset and the new xrOS. Cook will almost certainly unveil both during the keynote and may even don the headgear during the event. Okay, maybe he won't put on a vision-occluding VR headset and accidentally walk off stage (no one wants that). What's more likely is we get a glimpse of the new VR product on stage and then there'll be an opportunity for photos and maybe even hands-on in the ample space above Steve Jobs Theater.
WWDC has also been the launchpad for Apple Silicon and updates related to the company's own CPUs. Some expect the introduction of an M3 chip, and if Apple does that, there will be hardware. Maybe a new Mac Pro (the last Mac still running on Intel silicon). Others are anticipating a new big-screen 15-inch MacBook Air (likely on M2) and a new iMac (also M2).
Granted, until Cook starts speaking, this is all guesswork. Buckle in folks, I will share all I can from my seat in the audience. And don't forget to check out our how to watch the WWDC 2023 keynote guide for full details of where you can see it all happen.
Look, we're all hyped for what Apple has planned for its WWDC keynote later today, but if you're planning on getting really excited, you can get Apple Music’s Power Up 2023 playlist which has a special WWDC 2023 angle, including Dua Lipa's Dance the Night and Diplo and Lily Rose's Sad in the Summer.
As it's on Apple Music, many of the tracks are in Dolby Atmos as well. I have to admit, Apple's music choices for its events don't always align with my own musical tastes, but our audio expert Becky Scarrott has cast her critical eye over the playlist and gives it the thumbs up, and she knows a good tune when she hears it.
One software update we're definitely expecting from Apple today concerns Siri, its occasionally helpful digital assistant.
Siri has been tipped to get a major update at WWDC, with AI enhancements to Apple's assistant among the improvements rumored over the past few weeks. The most recent leak suggests that it could also get a more minor change concerning its wake word, with users able to say simply "Siri" rather than "Hey Siri".
With rivals such as Microsoft and Google now firmly invested in AI, it may need to make bigger changes than that to impress us, though. SiriGPT, anyone?
Whether or not xrOS does arrive at WWDC 2023 today, we can certainly expect updates to all of Apple's other operating systems.
For instance, watchOS 10 is almost certain to be announced at the event. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman - yes, him again - has tipped the software found in all of the best Apple Watches to be one of the stars of the show at WWDC 2023, and with good reason.
Ahead of the event, we've pulled together a list of the four features watchOS 10 needs (and one it needs to ditch). Let's see how many of them Apple gives us, eh?
Of course any new Apple mixed-reality headset will need a new operating system too - and that's also expected to launch at WWDC 2023.
According to the likes of Bloomberg's well-connected Mark Gurman, Apple has settled on the name xrOS, rather than Reality OS as it was originally known. Gurman has also stated that it "will have many of the same features as an iPhone and iPad but in a 3D environment", and that it will include mixed-reality versions of stock Apple apps such as Safari, Photos, Mail, Messages and Calendar.
So, let's talk about what Apple is expected to unveil today.
The big story is likely to be around the company's first proper foray into virtual reality. We don't know for sure what the Apple VR headset will be called, but the name Apple Reality Pro has been widely shared. And we also have quite a bit of info about what it might be like.
For instance, the rumors suggest it will be expensive - maybe as much as $3,000 (£2,200 / AU$4,400) – and that it will support both VR and mixed reality. We also think it may ship without controllers, that it could have super-high-res displays and that it could well run on an Apple M2 chip of some kind.
We've pulled together everything we know about it so far in our Apple VR headset hub.
What will Apple tell us?
Here's a little secret: in the run-up to the big event, Apple will send invites to a series of post-keynote briefings. While Apple doesn't reveal the subject matter for any of those meetings prior to the end of what is expected to be a 90-minute keynote, we do use the number of meetings to glean potential topics.
Rarely do we have one meeting. In fact, three-to-five briefings are typical, with one usually per platform. What I'll be watching for are any extra meetings, ones that don't seem to align with macOS, iOS, or iPadOS (typical briefing candidates).
I also pay attention to the length of these background briefings. Long ones are usually for the big platforms (iOS). Short ones are for the second-tier players (maybe tvOS). Will I have a meeting about xrOS?
I have no idea. Sadly, even once I know, I can't really tell you anything about them. But what I learn in those meetings will inform my reporting on all things WWDC 2023.
Good morning and welcome to our WWDC 2023 live blog. We'll be sharing all the last-minute rumors and news around all things Apple ahead of the event, then bringing you every announcement as it happens from 10am PT today.
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