Apple CEO Tim Cook commenced the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) with a comprehensive presentation on hardware, software, and services. While numerous updates were announced across Apple’s core platforms, the standout highlights were the Vision Pro headset and the 15-inch MacBook Air. Here are the key announcements made by Apple:
Apple officially unveiled the much-anticipated mixed-reality headset, Vision Pro. The headset allows users to control apps and tools using eye, head, and voice commands. It provides a unique experience where users perceive their environment through the headset as if wearing glasses, while augmented reality content and apps seamlessly blend into their surroundings. During the keynote, Apple showcased the headset’s capabilities by demonstrating content consumption and creation in a 3D environment. Equipped with a digital crown similar to the Apple Watch, the headset is connected to a battery pack with an approximate 2-hour battery life. The Vision Pro also features an EyeSight feature that displays the user’s eyes while wearing the headset. With a 3D camera, users can capture moments while using the device. Combining virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), the Vision Pro is powered by Apple’s M2 chipset, along with a new chip named R1 designed for real-time sensor processing. These chipsets drive Apple’s new operating system, visionOS. The headset will be available starting at $3,499 and is scheduled for an early release next year in the US market, with a global rollout to follow.
15-inch MacBook Air
Apple introduced the 15-inch MacBook Air, a sleek and powerful notebook. With a thickness of 11.5mm and a weight of 1.3kg, it is powered by Apple’s own M2 chipset. The laptop features two USB-C ports, Apple’s MagSafe charging dock, and a standard headphone jack. Boasting an impressive 18-hour battery life, the MacBook Air is equipped with an 8-core CPU and a 10-core GPU. It will be available in four colors, including Midnight and Starlight. The 15-inch MacBook Air starts at Rs 134,900 and is available for order today, with availability commencing next week.
New Mac Pro
Joining Apple’s pro-grade Mac lineup is the high-performance Mac Pro. Powered by the M2 Ultra 24-core CPU, it supports up to a 76-core GPU, eight Thunderbolt 4 ports, and up to six of Apple’s high-end Pro Display XDR monitors. The Mac Pro features a stainless steel frame designed for flexibility, with modules that can be repositioned around the frame. Aimed at creative professionals and designers, the new Mac Pro model starts at Rs 729,900. Additionally, Apple announced the updated Mac Studio, which can be configured with either Apple’s M2 Max or M2 Ultra chips, starting at Rs 209,900.
The latest version of iOS, Apple’s major iPhone software update, offers a wealth of new features. One notable addition is the “NameDrop” feature, which enables users to share contacts, music, internet, and other shared activities between two iPhones or Apple Watches. FaceTime gains a voicemail functionality, allowing users to leave video messages for their friends. Messaging receives upgrades such as enhanced search functionality and a catch-up feature for group chat that allows users to set up auto-notifications informing friends and family that they have safely arrived at a location. Another new addition is Standby, an experience that activates when users place their iPhones on a stand in a horizontal orientation, particularly beneficial for MagSafe stands. This triggers changes in the entire lock screen user interface. iOS 17 introduces a range of exciting features that enhance connectivity, communication, and user experience.
The tablet software update, iPadOS 17, includes similar features to iOS 17, such as new messaging capabilities, AirDrop enhancements, and smarter autocorrect for text input. One notable addition is the ability to personalize the lock screen. iPadOS 17 also incorporates the Health app and Live Activities display, similar to iOS. The Notes app and PDF annotation features also receive attention in this update.
macOS Sonoma, the latest version of Apple’s Mac operating system, offers several new features. These include desktop widgets, Apple TV-like aerial screensavers, and enhancements to apps such as Messages and Safari. The new Game mode prioritizes CPU and GPU performance, leveraging Apple’s powerful graphics processing units and Metal 3 framework. Additionally, FaceTime gains expanded video-conferencing functionality. Widgets make their way to the macOS desktop, while Safari receives under-the-hood improvements and enhanced Private Browsing functionality.
Apple announced the tvOS 17 update, featuring a significant addition—FaceTime on Apple TV. The new FaceTime app utilizes the camera on the iPhone or iPad to enable video calls on the big-screen TV. Apple also revealed that users will soon be able to locate their lost Apple TV remote using FindMy, provided they have the newer Siri remote.
Apple is updating the Apple Watch’s software with new widgets and redesigned apps to provide users with more information at a glance. By turning the digital crown, users can access the widget stack and scroll through for quick and easy access to information. The Apple Watch also receives two new watch faces: a color-palette themed face and the beloved Peanuts characters, Snoopy and Woodstock. Additional metrics and workout views for cycling, including the display of extra statistics when connecting to other Bluetooth-enabled bike sensors, enhance the cycling experience. Health takes center stage in WatchOS 10, with new mood-logging features introduced in the Mindfulness app, accessible on both the watch and the phone.