Apple made a number of announcements covering new products at its annual WWDC event, including laptops, desktops and a new headset. WWDC is usually where Apple introduces new features to iOS, iPadOS and MacOS, as well as hardware products it’s ready to release. The MacBook Air gets bigger with a 15-inch model—the first of its size—and so do Apple’s latest chipsets.
The most radical of the announcements, at least from Apple’s product history, would be the Vision Pro augmented reality (AR) headset. It will be some time before we see it launch in Canada, but its features and capabilities could be an interesting jolt for the category as a whole.
Not since Apple made the 11-inch MacBook Air have their been two sizes for Apple’s thinnest laptop. Now, you’ll get two options again, only this time you can go bigger than before. This provides an alternative to the MacBook Pro for those who don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles that line offers.
It weighs 3.3 pounds, making it considerably lighter than the 16-inch Pro, which gets close to five pounds. It runs on Apple’s M2 chip from 2022, so it won’t use different silicon relative to the other 13-inch Air. The GPU offers some flexibility with 8-core and 10-core configurations, while RAM can go up to 24GB, though you’re more likely to find 16GB to start with. Storage maxes out at 2TB, but you will see 256GB and 512GB be your primary choices.
Given that it’s 0.45-inches thin, you get two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, plus the MagSafe charging port and headphone jack. No HDMI like you get with the Pro. As with other Mac laptops, you can also charge it through the USB-C ports when you don’t have your MagSafe charger with you.
Through all this, Apple claims the battery will go up to 18 hours. That’s an optimistic number based on very light usage, but even if you push things, it should easily crack 10 hours. There’s no fan inside, so it should run pretty silently.
The new MacBook Air 15-inch is coming quickly, and you can get your hands on one as early as June 13. For a comparison, check out the MacBook Air 13-inch.
When they receive their updates later this year, the iPhone, iPad and Mac will all see new features. iOS 17 will bring several tweaks to the iPhone, including the ability to remove the ‘Hey” when summoning Siri by voice. That won’t be an iPhone-exclusive, mind you, as Apple plans to roll that out to other devices that work with Siri, including the HomePod.
Some of the iOS features include more tools for Messaging, like voice note transcription and the ability to “check in” and let friends and family know you’ve made it home safely. It will be easier to share photos with others, and new app called Journal will come out to allow users to keep their own journals. Messages will also get some updates, as will the iOS keyboard, which will improve autocorrect to be more personalized and predictive to how you use words.
As for the iPad, the Health app is coming to iPadOS, finally. You will have more flexibility with widgets and have autofill fields appear when filling out or editing PDFs. You can also leave FaceTime messages and utilize the iPad’s camera when talking to others on the Mac.
Speaking of widgets, those will be more dynamic when MacOS Sonoma launches, resembling how they appear on the iPhone and iPad. The new video conferencing features also look cool, where the OS will be able to separate you as the speaker from the background or slides, even letting you adjust the size of your own bubble and place it wherever you want onscreen. It could make video conferences feel more dynamic as presentations. Apple says it will also cater to gamers with additional features on that front too.
Apple announced a couple of upcoming features for these two devices as well. The AirPods Pro will get something called Adaptive Audio, which will blend together active noise cancellation (ANC) and transparency and apply either effect depending on what’s happening around you. That will come in a future update sometime this year.
For the Apple TV, Continuity Camera on your iPhone or iPad will let you chat with friends and family through an Apple TV. The camera on either device will act as a webcam, with Centre Stage to adjust the frame so that it follows you. This is a neat feature that will come in the fall, though it’s not yet clear which exact Apple TV models will get it.
This was the biggest announcement from WWDC, though it won’t be coming to Canada until sometime in 2024 at the earliest. The gist of the Vision Pro is that it’s an AR headset with a see-through visor suggesting there will be real-world applications involved here. More details will come, but for now, we know Apple’s positioning this as both a productivity and entertainment gadget. You will be able to conference with others, or watch movies and shows with extra interactive features thrown in. Disney already announced Disney+ will be available at launch, and we can assume other major platforms may be sure to follow.
Apple will launch the new MacBook Air 15-inch first in June 2023, and you can check out all the current Apple products available now.