Apple WWDC 2023 - My Thoughts

06 Jun 2023 | ~4 minute read

Yesterday was the Apple 2023 WWDC conference. There were some big announcements, here's my thoughts...

I caught up on the Apple event last night, and for the most part, I thought it was all a bit meh.

If you want to see the whole event, you can check it out here, but if you already know what happened, here's the parts I found interesting.

iPadOS

Not much to say here really, just a bunch of incremental updates. I liked the PDF management that allows you to annotate and fill forms, but apart from that, there isn't a whole lot to write home about.

The iPadOS portion of WWDC was around 10 minutes, and most of that was taken up talking about the new custom lock screen and "interactive widgets". 😴

Sure, they're cool and all if you're into that kinda thing, but worthy of a song and dance during the conference? I'm not so sure.

iOS

There's a new standby feature that basically turns your phone into a clock. The clock turns red when it gets dark. I already have one of those; it cost me £15 and I've had it for over 20 years. 🤷‍♂️

iOS Standby mode at night
iOS Standby mode at night
My 20 year old, £15 (dusty) clock
My 20 year old, £15 (dusty) clock

There were some announcements for iOS that I liked the sound of though. The Live Voicemail feature that provides as transcription of your voicemail on screen, as you receive it, is pretty cool.

I sometimes have to step out of meetings to check voicemails in case it's something important, this should help with that.

I also like the fact that people can now leave video voicemails...videomails? If they miss you on FaceTime.

Autocorrect

In my opinion, autocorrect on iOS is diabolical. I'm really glad to see this get some love - they didn't mention the swipe to type feature though, which isn't very accurate in it's current form, so it doesn't look like that's getting any improvements.

I regularly mistype the same things over and over on my phone (muscle memory, yo). Apparently autocorrect in iOS will now learn as you type, so hopefully this will improve and I won't look quite so illiterate when texting.

Journaling

The last thing is the new Journaling app. Apple are clearly coming for Day One's lunch here. I've tried journaling myself in the past, but it's never stuck, and paying for Day One never appealed to me, so I'll be giving this a try, I think.

MacOS

Version 14 will be called Sonoma, you can put widgets on your desktop now and there's going to be a 15" MacBook Air. That's pretty much it as far as I can see.

I love my M1 MacBook Air. I think the 13" screen is perfect, so I doubt I'd switch to a 15" model, but I know a lot of people have been wanting this.

Apple Vision Pro

I saved the best until last...well, the biggest news at least. For the meagre sum of $3,500 you too can talk to your friends while wearing a SCUBA mask.

Apple vision pro

Apple are billing these as a completely new way of working. To be honest, this is better than how Meta announced their AR offering, with it's ridiculous little cartoon avatars, but I still don't see the attraction when it comes to getting real shit done.

Sure they're a great toy, but I personally don't see there being a seismic shift in how we do computing any time soon. Touchscreen has been about for a long time and that was billed as the next big thing, but I'm typing this on a good old keyboard, and will continue to do so. Despite having multiple touchscreen devices at home. With touchscreen you still have a keyboard, but even then it couldn't replace the desktop paradigm when it comes to productivity.

With Vision Pro, the user inputs are completely abstract to what we're all accustom to. I just can't see many people (if any) wanting to shift their way of working to this. Especially in the corporate world.

Imagine someone coming up to your desk in the office and wanting to talk to you. They would either be greeted with the weird computer generated version of your eyes, or have to wait while you faff around taking the headset off.

No thanks.

A still from the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Artist's impression of Vision Pro's augmented eyes

TL;DR - great toy, not so great in the office.

Final thoughts

I'm looking forward to some of the improvements in iOS, but for the most part, I really didn't see anything groundbreaking here.

It will be interesting to see what the Vision Pro's operating system actually looks and works like, but I'm not willing to pay $3,500 to find out. I'll just keep an eye on the news.

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