What to expect from Apple WWDC 2023

The news: The world’s most valuable company is kicking off its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next week, and the event tags are “Code new worlds” and “New era” which lean heavily on their long awaited AR/VR pivot.

Why it’s worth watching: While Apple’s mixed reality (MR) headset could be months away from release—and its supporting metaverse a year or two in the future—it makes sense to detail a roadmap during its annual developer show.

What we’re expecting Apple to reveal:

  • New operating systems: iOS 17, iPadOS 17, macOS 14, watchOS 10, and tvOS 17 with improvements for Apple’s current and future devices.
  • New hardware: A 15-inch MacBook Air with the M2 chip and a slew of Mac Pros, completing the three-year shift from Intel to Apple Silicon processors.
  • Reality Pro headset: An MR device that could offer immersive experiences with Apple’s own xrOS platform.
  • Artificial intelligence integration: Various services and operating systems laced with AI integrations, albeit to a lesser extent than Microsoft’s recent announcements.

Why it’s worth watching: While primarily a developer event, WWDC’s focus will likely shift away from iOS, macOS, watchOS, and its established businesses to its multiyear VR strategy.

With Meta seemingly pausing its metaverse mission in favor of shorter-term goals, the door is wide open for Apple to start planting seeds of its 10-year-plan to replace iPhones with headsets. 

New platforms, new opportunities: Accelerating its VR announcement can push Apple above the fray in VR/AR and supporting platforms while it continues to compete in smartphone and PC markets that are quickly saturating and where Apple has smaller market share.

  • A VR pivot could give Apple a dominant position in an emerging market where rivals Google, Microsoft, and Amazon don’t have a foothold.
  • Apple, whose digital services and advertising business brings in more than $5 billion a year, is well positioned to grab VR advertising and subscription revenue.
  • While Apple’s metaverse could be two or three years away, it could still come sooner than Meta’s expected five- to 10-year roadmap.