It’s an Apple-heavy TMA today, so strap in. At its WWDC 2023 keynote yesterday, Apple revealed almost everything about its first spatial computing headset, the Vision Pro. In typical Apple style, it looks almost completely different from existing headsets. As Engadget’s Devindra Hardawar put it during his time with the device, the Vision Pro is like the iPod to MP3 players of old, the iPhone to the BlackBerry.
The Vision Pro is a standalone headset (well, with a battery pack) that forgoes controllers. Instead, through external and internal sensors and cameras, you use the Vision Pro with voice input and hand/eye gestures. You can finger-pinch to select things and a use pinch-slide motion for scrolling up/down or left/right. Unlike the Oculus Quest series, you can even make those hand gestures comfortably on your lap; you don't have to hold your hands up dramatically like a Minority Report cosplayer. The most unusual twist might be EyeSight. Apple uses the curved display on the headset's exterior to display your eyes and reactions while you’re wearing the device.
Apple's visionOS, made for this new kind of product, feels like a cross between iOS and macOS, powered by a new R1 chip and an M2 processor to deliver what Apple describes as responsive, "lag-free" standalone performance. Tapping the digital crown (yes, like the Apple Watch) brings up your app icons, while in some demos, rotating the crown blends the augmented reality vision into a more immersive one. Read our full first impressions right here and if you're intrigued to try it yourself, expect to wait (and save up): The Vision Pro will cost $3,499, and it won't be available until early 2024. Countries outside the US will have to wait even longer.
– Mat Smith
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Another device that’s been a long time coming.
As expected, the new MacBook Air is extremely similar to the redesigned 13-inch version announced at WWDC one year ago – just a bit bigger. But it marks the first time Apple has released a laptop with a screen this size that wasn't part of its "pro" lineup of devices, stretching all the way back to the PowerBook era of Apple laptops. The 15-inch MacBook Air has the same M2 chip as the smaller model, but Apple hasn't said exactly what the resolution of the 15-inch MacBook Air display is yet. It doesn't have the ProMotion adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz; this one tops out at 60Hz. Apple says it should offer 18 hours of battery life and is only about 3.3 pounds and 11.5mm thick. The laptop starts at $1,299 and is available to pre-order.
It also has improved sharing and a smarter Siri.
The big update to your iPhone brings a raft of improvements to smartphone basics. Incoming calls can now include custom posters for certain contacts, and you'll get Google-style live transcripts for voicemail. Messages, meanwhile, offers easier replies, audio message transcripts and a check-in feature that automatically lets people know if you've arrived or are delayed. You’ll even be able to leave voicemails through FaceTime.
With NameDrop, a new feature, you can share contact details just by bringing your iPhone close to someone else's device. You can also share photos that way and leave AirDrop transferring content even when you have to step away. As rumored, you’ll also get a new Journal app, which will send shockwaves to the litany of third-party journaling and diary apps already out. The iOS 17 developer preview is available today, with a public beta coming in July. The software will officially debut this fall.
All the compatible devices for Apple's upcoming operating systems.
If you're still clinging on to an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X, you won't be able to update it to iOS 17. In other words, your iPhone will need to have an A12 Bionic or later chip to install the new OS. If you have an iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, iPhone SE (second-gen) or later, you'll have access to features including Live Voicemail transcripts, the StandBy display mode and improved autocorrect.
A new version of the old Glances feature.
Your Apple Watch may look very different when watchOS 10 arrives. As expected, the company is giving the smartwatch user interface an overhaul as part of one of the firmware's biggest updates yet. The original Apple Watch UI was designed, in part, around Glances – a carousel of widgets for different apps and features. You’ll be able to rotate the Digital Crown to access a smart stack of relevant widgets. Things like timers, stopwatches and podcasts will show up as widgets when they're in use. You can even have a widget with your favorite complications. A public beta will arrive next month, and Apple plans to release watchOS 10 this fall.
The subreddits object to pricing that could hurt apps like Apollo.
Reddit's potential threat to third-party apps is prompting a high-profile protest. Dozens of subreddits, including major examples like Earthporn, LifeProTips, ReactionGIFs and Videos, have declared they're "going dark" (that is, going private) starting June 12th in response to an API pricing increase they believe will shut out third-party clients. Some will resume public access after 48 hours, but others will "permanently" isolate themselves until Reddit addresses their concerns.
Christian Selig, the creator of popular client Apollo, says the API pricing would cost him $20 million per year. The developers of other apps, such as Narwhal and Reddit is Fun, have also warned they can't afford the new prices and will likely shut down soon as a result. Moderators are concerned because third-party Reddit apps frequently include customizations and other features that help keep subreddits in check.