Apple is notoriously secretive about its work.
Senior VP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi even feigned total ignorance when asked about rumors of a mixed reality headset in a 2021 interview(opens in a new tab). This is what makes it all the more satisfying when Apple rumors turn out to be true. By the time Apple CEO Tim Cook came back on stage at WWDC 2023 for “one more thing,” you could bet that the XR headset, Vision Pro, was about to be announced.
Apple avoids the AI trap at WWDC
Still, Apple has a history of throwing curveballs, which it has done in the past like introducing the Dynamic Island instead of removing the camera notch for the iPhone 14 Pro last year. Sniffing out credible Apple leaks is a full-time job, and not an easy one. Even the most reliable sources sometimes get it wrong with the timing or interpretation of details.
Here are the biggest predictions for WWDC 2023 that panned out and the ones that didn’t.
1. Vision Pro
After several years of expecting an XR headset announcement at WWDC, 2023 was finally the year Apple did it. For about a year, we’d been hearing a steady flow of detailed leaks from Apple experts Mark Gurman and Ming-Chi Kuo and a report by The Information(opens in a new tab), which all but confirmed the very real existence of Vision Pro and tentative timeline. The one major surprise was the name of the headset, which was rumored to be Reality Pro, not Vision Pro.
Experts also thought the price would be between $2,000 and $3,000, but Apple surprised everyone by pricing it at a whopping $3,500. Other than that, leaked details about Vision Pro’s design and capabilities were pretty spot on. The lucky few who’ve tested it out are pretty impressed(opens in a new tab).
In late May, Gurman reported(opens in a new tab) an iOS 17 feature to make the iPhone function like a smart home display when oriented horizontally. This turned out be StandBy. The new feature builds on the Always-On lock screen that was unveiled with iOS 16 last year, showing the time, schedules, and other notifications and widgets on a quickly accessible interface. StandBy is available now with the developer beta.
An April report(opens in a new tab) from The Wall Street Journal accurately predicted the launch of the new Journal app with iOS 17. As expected, Journal is a digital place to log thoughts and provide suggestions for new entries that pull in other data from your iPhone like photos and workouts. Apple didn’t share much detail beyond Journal’s basic functions, but documents leaked to the Journal explained it as a Day One competitor but with deeper access to your iPhone data. Journal is said to be coming “later this year,” so we can expect more details to come.
4. Updates to the Health app
As predicted by Gurman, the Health app got some updates. Apple is finally giving users the Health app on an iPad.
Both iPadOS 17 and iOS 17 are getting a Health app update that tracks your mood and emotions, because “name it, tame it” is an important part of mental health therapy. New Health app features are available with the developer beta.
What wasn’t announced at WWDC 2023 that we’re still hoping for this year
Even with the two-hour runtime, Apple sped through the Mac and OS announcements to get to the Vision Pro unveiling. Whether Apple is still planning to release some of these rumored features in a later update, at the September event, or ever, is TBD. The developer beta is live, so users are already discovering features not covered at the event.
A not-so-much revamped Control Center
According to users already testing the developer beta, this turned out to be a minor addition(opens in a new tab) of an Apple Watch toggle. There was a rumor(opens in a new tab) of a total Control Center overhaul according an anonymous source on a MacRumors forum, but unless it comes in a future iOS 17 update, this rumor is just a rumor.
No mention of Wallet or Dynamic Island updates
Not mentioned at all during WWDC 2023 were rumored updates to the Wallet app, and additional capabilities for the Dynamic Island. Early iOS 17 testers have been disappointed to discover that notifications aren’t integrated with the tentpole iPhone 14 Pro feature.
What about sideloading?
Surprisingly, there was no mention of sideloading, which was a strong rumor given the timeline of European legislation, which requires the ability to download third party app stores by 2024. Although, Gurman said to expect this as a last minute implementation(opens in a new tab) before the deadline next year.
Gurman also predicted the advent of an AI health coach, but gave a disclaimer that it’s a longer term project.
WWDC 2023 is not likely to be the last word on Apple updates for this year. There’s still lots to discover in the developer beta, for starters. Software updates rolled out throughout the year have previously given Apple users major new features to explore.