Next to the iPhone reveal each September, Apple’s WWDC is one of its biggest and best annual events. The usual keynote is jam-packed with all of the company’s newest ecosystem features and upgrades. This year’s was all of that plus…one more thing: an AR/VR headset. And while that may be the star of the show, I’m more interested in the down-to-earth improvements to Apple’s traditional gadgets.
I’ve been enjoying the media’s first impressions of the announced virtual reality goggles, dubbed “Vision Pro." There seem to be three basic take-aways about the device:
- It’s by far the most impressive headset of its kind.
- It’s very expensive.
- Its usefulness is unclear.
The Apple Vision Pro is an interesting wearable immersive computer. Apple says it represents what it calls, “Spatial Computing." The intriguing philosophy behind that is something I hope is written and talked about over time.
But since the headset is practically out of my league and is a version 1.0 product, I’m most interested in what Tim Cook referred to in the WWDC23 keynote as “Personal” and “Mobile Computing." You know, laptops and smartphones.
Macs and more
Despite Apple having been busy working on ground-breaking technology, it didn’t seem to take its foot off the gas pedal when it comes to the good ol' iPhone and Mac platforms. Even the Apple Watch is being updated in a big way.
This year’s WWDC might have ushered in the future of computing, but I still prefer its present and what’s coming soon to keep it fresh. A few of my favorite new things to get excited about are:
Notes - link and share
New to Apple Notes will be the ability to link notes to other notes. This sounds like “linking your thinking” in Obsidian. I’ve yet to see how its implemented, so I’m eager to find out and put it to use.
Also new: you’ll be able to directly send notes to Pages via the Share sheet. I often wondered why such a simple feature wasn’t already an established workflow. Though it might be akin to copy/pasting from Notes to Pages, I think it’s an important feature because it promotes Apple’s great word processing app as a destination within the system. I’m guessing Apple has more ideas in mind for connecting the two text-based apps together, creating new and better productivity workflows.
I wrote about this recently. So, yeah, I’m excited for this, ready to try it out. Apple’s reasoning for it seems sound, and screenshots for it look nice. A whole new Apple app, all about journaling? Count me in!
If it works out, I’ll be able to move my journal entries out of Apple Notes and place them neatly into a dedicated journaling app, much like Day One. But it will be made by Apple, built-into the iPhone, and hopefully span the whole ecosystem via iCloud. No extra charge.
I call this one live call-screening. I get very few legit phone calls and always screen all unknown numbers. So this will be a very useful new feature to enjoy, helping me not miss any important calls.
This turns your iPhone into a nice alarm clock/smart display on your bedside table. I think it’s a sign of things to come, like the iPad morphing into an actual smart display. But even as-is, Standby looks like a very nice upgrade, making the iPhone officially subsume yet another single-purpose device.
Safari - web apps and profiles
This one is a small yet welcome addition. Web apps will now get first-class treatment on the Mac! You’ll be able to keep them in the dock with dedicated icons and launch them in their own browser windows. Nice!
Safari is also gaining something I did not expect: Profiles. You can create broad use-cases for web browsing and keep them siloed from each other. I think it helps with privacy and also with general organization.
FaceTime on AppleTV
This is another example of Apple’s ecosystem synergy. It lets you use an iPhone as a webcam with an AppleTV so you can FaceTime with the whole family on the couch in front of the TV. This is a big deal to me because, after many years of having no real need for one, I’m now seriously thinking I’ll buy an AppleTV for this feature alone.
Well played, Apple, well played.
Finally, at long last, ever since the debut of widgets on iPhone, Apple is making them interactive! YES! It’s as simple as you think. The Reminders widget will finally let you tap items as complete. The Music and Podcasts widgets will finally let you tap play/pause. So simple. Yet so nice. And yes, Android has had such a thing since the dawn of smartphones, sure. And iPhone will finally catch up. Better late than never.
Silicon Mac Pro
The Mac Pro now has the new M2 Ultra chip inside. And with that, the transition from Intel to Apple silicon is complete.
15” MacBook Air
It’s like the 13” MacBook Air. But bigger. It’ll sell a lot. Nice.
Apple’s watch interface is getting a huge overhaul and looks like it will make the watch more useful. It now uses more widgets and better placed complications to make glancing at info and interacting with it easier. I can’t wait to try it out. Also, the Hiking workout is enhanced; I love hiking.
All the things
There are many other cool and new features coming to all of Apple’s software. In fact, there’s so much new goodness that, even without the Vision Pro reveal, this year’s WWDC keynote was as promising and interesting as ever.
What do you think?