Every year, ahead of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in California, Apple assures the world it will be its most important one yet. With the sheer magnitude of updates and changes announced at the 2023 Apple WWDC, it looks like they might just live up to that expectation this time around. From the launch of Apple Vision Pro to welcome autocorrect tweaks as part of iOS 17, these are the most exciting changes in the pipeline for all your Apple merch.
Apple Vision Pro
First, let's dig into one of the most hyped announcements. Introduced by Apple CEO Tim Cook, at the conference Apple finally unveiled the first look of its long-speculated VR headset – Apple Vision Pro. Used in conjunction with its operating system visionOS, the headset will allow users to blend digital content into the environment around you, using your eyes, voice, hands and gestures as navigation tools.
Vision Pro promises to completely alter the experience of apps like FaceTime, where contacts will appear as avatars and their voices will sound as if they're speaking right from where they're positioned in the headset, thanks to spatial audio. There will also be an immersive mindfulness app that will aid in meditation.
One of the biggest attractions of the Vision Pro is its potential as an entertainment tool. At least this is how it's being marketed. Apple is aiming to demonstrate its power in the world of gaming, as well as when it comes to films and TV. Already, Disney is working on content for the headset, with Disney+ available on the Apple Vision Pro from its first day of release, announced Bob Igor.
Already tech critics have noted the potential of this, albeit expensive, device to serve people with disabilities. "Will watching movies and television shows be easier to see for those with low vision? Will FaceTime and other video-conferencing be better for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities?" Asks Forbes contributor Steven Aquino. The only question left is around the technology; is it advanced enough to pick up on the nuances of eye movement, given that features like Siri still struggle with atypical speech? Considering that this is the prototype, there will be limits, but hopefully it sets a foundation that can be built upon.
The Apple Vision Pro will be priced at $5,286 AUD and will be available to the US market early 2024. Meanwhile, the product will launch globally in the latter end of 2024.
Similar to AirDrop, NameDrop allows iPhone users to share contact information smoothly by simply holding their phone in proximity to another. Kind of like how we used to initiate a Tamagotchi Battle. With the same gesture, users can also share content, watch movies or listen to music simultaneously through SharePlay. So there's that.
This is one of my favourite updates. Apple has announced that autocorrect will no longer censor our use of the expletive. Instead, it will utilise a transformer AI model to determine whether we meant to type "ducking", or something else... Thank duck for that! This technology promises to improve the overall experience of autocorrect by making word prediction more accurate. The change will roll out with the iOS 17 update, which is scheduled to launch in September this year.
Apple TV FaceTime
It functions exactly as it sounds. Apple TV now has the capacity and the app to take FaceTime calls. Now everyone will fit into the screen call.
So you've got the Notes app, but soon Apple will provide a dedicated space for your journaling where privacy is paramount – apparently not even they can read your Journal entries. So if you're looking to build a daily habit, this might just be the tool to aid you. This space will allow you to include photos, contacts, workouts and places into each entry. It can also be locked and includes end-to-end encryption.
This feature will come in handy while you charge your iPhone. Instead of having to physically tap your phone to monitor any missed calls or notifications, StandBy is designed to be viewed from a distance. When turned sideways, the iPhone screen will revert to a customisable clock face displaying any recent alerts for you to take in at a glance.
The impending iOS 17 update will also improve the Messages experience. The Search feature will have greater capacity to filter through keywords and narrow down results to find exactly what you're looking for. Audio messages will be transcribed immediately, so if you can't listen at the time of receiving you can read what the audio is about. There'll be a catch up arrow that bookmarks where your chats last left off.
Messages will also include a Check In feature for the times when a user wants to notify friends or family that they've reached their destination – which will no doubt be useful for nights out with pals. All one needs to do is initiate the Check In function and the intended recipient will be notified when the user arrives. If the person isn't making progress to their destination, information such as the device's location, battery level and service status will be temporarily shared with the intended contact.