WWDC 2023: Goodbye Metaverse, hello ‘Apple-verse’

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

CUPERTINO (California), June 6 — Apple CEO Tim Cook promised that this year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) would be its best ever.

Did it deliver? For once, despite the best efforts of leakers, the final “just one more thing” at the end of WWDC exceeded expectations.

WWDC is more a gathering of developers where most of the discussion will be about software and the updates to the code that runs Apple's stable of products.

Hardware mentions tend to be far and few between and usually only when truly warranted. Besides the much awaited high-tech glasses, Apple also updated its MacBook Air and desktop Mac line.


Now that doesn't mean the software updates do not warrant a mention. Apple has decided to go all in on that feature Android was better known for: widgets.

It is slightly curious that Apple is putting in more work on widgets, featuring them across not just iPhones and iPads but Macs as well. Especially when Android has moved away from making widgets one of its key design features.

Still it is in line with Apple's own design philosophy — it's not about being the first to market with a feature, but having the most refined iteration of it.

What makes Apple's widget use different is how they work within Apple's ecosystem/walled garden — making widgets on the iPhone accessible on the Mac as well.

There aren't huge leaps in features, more tweaks and a smoothening of the communication between devices, such as being able to share files through AirPlay via the internet across distances.

NameDrop, the quick and easy sharing of contacts between phones, got quite the chuckle from the audience as the name is a bit on the nose but I suspect soon people will get over the jokey aspect of it to enjoy the quick and easy contact sharing.

Adding muscle to the Mac

Apple's newly upgraded Mac Pro and Mac Studio are firmly aimed at professional users and with the new M2 Ultra chip that provides top of the line performance (for a premium of course), the company seems intent on keeping its lead in the processor performance stakes.

Adding PCI expansion slots to the Mac Pro is something professional users have requested and Apple certainly delivered with the ability to add a generous amount of peripheral devices.

As for the MacBook Air at 15 inches? That size makes the ultralight laptop pretty much the perfect machine for most people as it offers portability while not requiring the sacrifice in screen size of smaller models.

Vision Pro is a metaverse reimagined

The ideal of a virtual world, where we would create our own avatars and “work” in said world seemed a cartoonish impractical idea, as far as the metaverse that was marketed in recent years was concerned.

With the Vision Pro, Apple does not want to take you out of the world. Instead the headset will adjust to your environment, allowing you to still interact with the world and people around you while creating a 3D rendering of your digital work.

So you could be talking to your colleague with the headset on, in an office, while still being able to see in your virtual space, the document you are discussing with said colleague.

This addresses something I disliked immensely about virtual reality headsets — that claustrophobic feeling that had you trapped and unable to access the outside world without taking them off.

Now though the idea behind the headset and the features promised, the seamless transition and intermingling between both real and virtual worlds, look good it will still have to be seen if the actual devices live up to Apple's promises.

As someone who wears glasses, I also find it a bit discomfiting that the headset does not accommodate glasses and you either need to wear contacts while wearing it or have custom lenses tailored to your sight requirements.

Still, what is definitely going to happen is when the Vision Pro headset launches early next year they will become the iPhones of the headset realm ― objects of desire that will probably be seen on the heads of many a celebrity or member of the monied set.

There is no indication as to when the headsets will be available in countries outside the US but I suspect as more content publishers (besides Disney that seems all-in on the Vision Pro) get on board Apple's roadmap for augmented reality, we'll get more updates by year-end.