WWDC 2023 rumors: Reality Pro headset, new Macs, and more

Apple is set to host WWDC, its massive developer event, on June 5, 2023. What devices could be launched? Here’s everything we expect to see at the show.

WWDC 2023 rumors: Reality Pro headset, new Macs, and more

Apple has announced its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will begin on June 5, 2023. This blockbuster show is one of the largest Apple events of the year, and it looks like this year’s WWDC is going to be packed to the gills with new devices, operating system updates, and all-around tech goodness.

There’s not long until we find out what Apple will unveil. And given that rumors have pointed to a brand-new mixed-reality headset and the first-ever 15-inch MacBook Air, among other products, it could be one of the most momentous events in Apple’s recent history. If you’re wondering what else is in the cards, you’re in the right place. Let’s see what’s next on Apple’s 2023 calendar

Reality Pro mixed-reality headset

A rendering of an Apple mixed-reality headset (Reality Pro) in a gray color seen from the front.Ahmed Chenni, Freelancer.com

After years of delays, the rumors surrounding Apple’s mixed-reality headset are gaining momentum. Apple has bided its time and watched its rivals launch their own devices, from the Meta Quest Pro to the HTC Vive XR Elite, and apparently now feels that now is the right time to step into the fray. On that note, numerous rumors have outlined that Apple is planning to reveal its secretive, long-awaited device at WWDC in June.

Thanks to a massive leak from Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, we now know almost everything we can expect from the headset, which will purportedly be called Reality Pro. The device will likely come with a plethora of impressive specs, including high-resolution displays, hand- and eye-tracking capabilities, a large array of cameras, and a much more lightweight design than its competitors. There will also be a switch resembling the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown that will let you swap between virtual reality and augmented reality.

Given all that tech, a price of around $3,000 has been suggested. That would be expensive, yet Apple will apparently sell each unit at a loss, according to Gurman. That says a lot about how packed with high-end tech the device could be. Apple is reportedly planning a cheaper version that will have a price tag closer to $1,500, but that’s not expected to launch until 2024 or 2025. The Reality Pro, meanwhile, could launch as soon as this summer.

But hold your horses — there’s a chance the Reality Pro won’t actually make it to WWDC after all. While most in the tech world seem convinced of a June launch date, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has demurred, saying that Apple is not confident it can create an “iPhone moment” with its headset. As a result, the company has apparently postponed the device’s launch to a later date. Other reports have claimed Apple employees are worried about the Reality Pro’s prospects, that the headset lacks a killer app, and even that it could be a “high-profile flop.” With all that negative press, perhaps Apple has decided now is not the right time to introduce its headset to the world.

Whether or not Kuo’s report is accurate remains to be seen. But without the Reality Pro headset, WWDC will feel much emptier.

15-inch MacBook Air

The screen of the MacBook Air on a table.

Apple hasn’t strayed from the familiar MacBook Air formula of either 11-inch or 13-inch sizes. That could soon change, though, as there are strong rumors that Apple has a larger 15-inch model in the works.

More specifically, the 15-inch MacBook Air will supposedly get a 15.5-inch display, according to industry analyst Ross Young. Most of the other details are shrouded in mystery for now, but we anticipate the device to be very similar to the existing 13-inch MacBook Air in almost every way.

That means we should expect the same chassis design, the same display (only larger), and the same M2 chip. There’s a chance the 15-inch model will get an M2 Pro chip, but that’s still up in the air (sorry).

Apple has allegedly been getting its stores to stock up on 15-inch MacBook Air models, indicating a launch is imminent — which lines up nicely with the idea it will launch at WWDC.

iOS 17, macOS 14, watchOS 10, and more

ios 16 preview

As the name suggests, WWDC is a developer-focused event, which means it comes with a heavy emphasis on software. Not only will Apple be hosting hands-on learning events for developers throughout the week, but it will showcase the latest versions of its operating systems, including iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. So far, things have been pretty quiet on this front, and there are not a lot of hints about what Apple could unveil at its event.

There are a few exceptions, including watchOS, with Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman saying it could receive a “notable” update. While Gurman doesn’t have specifics, he indicates the change could be due to last year’s heavy emphasis on Watch hardware (including the launch of the Apple Watch Ultra).

Previously, iOS 17 was expected to be something of a ‘bug fix’ update, but the consensus now seems to be that it will have a few features heavily requested by users. Among them are a redesigned Control Center, a new journaling app, and a much more capable Dynamic Island. For the first time, Apple might allow users in Europe to sideload apps from third-party app stores in order to comply with EU legislation. There are also expected to be a slate of smaller updates, such as improvements to the Apple Music, Wallet, and Find My apps.

One reason for the lack of anything more significant could be the Reality Pro headset. It’s thought that Apple is spending a lot of time and resources developing the operating system for its mixed-reality headset, and that has pulled attention away from its other software efforts. The Reality Pro’s operating system is apparently called xrOS and could offer features such as gesture control and eye-tracking. It would also have to power both the augmented reality and virtual reality features of the headset. All that means Apple’s software engineers have a lot on their plates — which, unfortunately, means it’s unlikely to be the most exciting year for the company’s other operating systems.

Apple silicon Mac Pro

Almost every Mac has at least one model powered by an Apple silicon chip — except the Mac Pro. We know a new version is coming because Apple admitted as much at its Peek Performance event in March 2022. With that show taking place over a year ago, though, the Mac Pro’s upgrade must be imminent. And it’s unlikely to arrive alone — if there’s a new Mac Pro, there could be a new Pro Display XDR monitor as well.

At one point, the Mac Pro feels like a certainty for WWDC, but recent reports indicate that it may again have been delayed. Speaking to MacRumors in April 2023, Gurman explained that he no longer expects the Mac Pro to be on show at WWDC. It’s yet more disappointing news for a device that hasn’t had much of a break recently if rumors are to be believed. Gurman still thinks the Mac Pro will come out in 2023, so we will have to keep our eyes peeled and hope it’s released sooner rather than later.

And even after waiting so long, it could be a disappointing device. According to Gurman, Apple has abandoned its M2 Extreme chip that was made specifically for the Mac Pro, while the chassis is going to remain the same as the current model. Meanwhile, there will be no upgradeable graphics options and no upgradable memory, which could make the Mac Pro a hard sell given its sky-high price.

Although we may not see that chip, rumors point to Apple launching an M2 Ultra processor at WWDC 2023, possibly powering the new Mac Pro.

Updated Mac Studio

An iFixit engineer tearing down Apple's Mac Studio by removing a heatsink bracket.

There’s a good chance we’ll see either a new Mac Studio or Mac Pro at WWDC, but probably not both. As the show approaches, the latter is looking more likely, however. Just days before the show, Apple said all non-base configurations of the Mac Studio would be delayed until the end of June, likely to make way for a new crop of devices.

Our biggest hint comes from none other than Mark Gurman, though. He says Apple is nearing the introduction of a new Mac with the code name J475 (the original Mac Studio’s code name was J375). There’s a good chance we’ll see an updated Mac Studio at the event, and if we don’t, it’s almost guaranteed by the end of the year.

Rumors of an updated M2 Ultra only amplify this theory. The original Mac Studio introduced the M1 Ultra to the range, so if Apple plans on launching that processor at the show, it will likely show up in a new Mac Studio.

New 27-inch display

The Mac Studio and Studio Display at Apple's Peek Performance event.

When Apple launched the Mac Studio, it also revealed a companion monitor called the Studio Display. While it’s certainly impressive, it’s missing a few features that would really take it to the next level.

Analyst Ross Young believes Apple has a new monitor up its sleeve that will boast both Mini-LED and ProMotion technologies. Those features are absent in both the Studio Display and the much more expensive Pro Display XDR and could make the new monitor an irresistible prospect for its target audience.

If the Mac Pro does actually get delayed, however, this 27-inch studio will likely get delayed along with it.

What’s not coming to the event?

A person sitting in a vehicle using a MacBook Pro on their lap.

Since the start of 2023, Apple has already launched a bunch of products through press releases. That includes the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, a refreshed Mac mini, and a relaunched HomePod. Other Macs that have been ruled out for WWDC include an updated 24-inch iMac. It appears this model may be skipping the M2 generation altogether and waiting for a bigger upgrade in 2024.

We’ve also heard that there will be no chip introductions, short of the M2 Ultra, which means Apple is likely holding the launch of the M3 for later this year.

Of course, Apple has its annual iPhone event held in September, so don’t expect any mobile hardware at WWDC.

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