WWDC 2023: Developers Recap and React

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  • #WWDC
  • #visionOS

• 30 min read

MacPaw engineers, designers, and product managers share their thoughts about the 2023 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

About speakers


Yevhenii Peteliev, Software Engineer in Technological R&D Service.

Oleksandr Pronsky, Design Manager at CleanMyMac.

Dmytro Lutsik, Product Manager at Setapp.

Host: Yuriy Fedorenko, Service Manager at MacPaw.

Apple: Still a revolutionary company!

Yevhenii Peteliev, Software Engineer: Today, I think Apple has shown everyone who's the boss. For years, we've seen people doubting the company, mocking its inability to produce something tangibly different and new. During this demo, Apple reinforced its image for innovation and demonstrated it has everything it takes to revolutionize. There was no big on-stage moment because the presentation was pre-recorded, but I guess that's a new norm after WWDC went into a "cinematic" mode during covid.

Dmytro Lutsik, Product Manager: I agree. In reality, before the demo, there was a discussion about AI and sideloading. People speculated whether Apple would respond to the latest trends in AI. But, once again, Apple steals the show and does everything in its own style. They unveiled a product that was years in the making, and now we already have the next big thing. I undoubtedly got that WOW effect from watching this year's WWDC.

Oleksandr Pronsky, Design Manager: Vision Pro is indeed visionary and revolutionizing.

Yuriy Fedorenko, Service Manager: I don't think Apple is "revolutionary" but rather "evolutionary." Remember 2007 when Apple launched the first iPhone, a slightly better version from what was already on the market. So it wasn't something groundbreaking in terms of the device format. The same goes for Apple Watch, and their new device Vision Pro follows this logic. Some call it a revolution, but I choose to call it evolution. However, one thing is sure, it will have an industry-wide impact.

Yevhenii Peteliev, Software Engineer: I'm afraid I have to disagree with the part about "slightly better." I used those other devices, and Apple brought a completely different approach to mobile phone interactions: no stylus, gesture control, and a redefined interaction. But let’s get back to Vision Pro.

Vision Pro: The era of spatial computing

Apple showed a 2999, but I was right about the price.

A few words about the device itself. Vision Pro is a mask you put on your face. It has two 4k screens for each eye, many sensors, moving lenses, and even an external screen for the people around you. Every detail conveys quality and style.

Apple Vision Pro. Image: Apple Inc.
Apple Vision Pro. Image: Apple Inc.

Productivity or entertainment?

Why do I believe it's a big thing? The main reason is that we all need a dimensionless display.

Let's be clear: Apple and other tech companies realize that people need a more convenient way to receive and operate vast information flows, and a dimensionless display is a good solution. A VR headset allows you to have all tabs on display simultaneously, watch movies in the best quality anywhere, etc., regardless of your surroundings.

When talking about our apartments or house, we generally agree that having more space is better. Naturally, we need enough room in our homes to do things. The same goes for digital real estate.

Dmytro Lutsik, Product Manager: Do you really need all that space in a digital world?

Yuriy Fedorenko, Service Manager: I don't want to remember all the keyboard shortcuts to switch between 5 apps and dozens of tabs inside one app. So it makes the difference, at least for me. Also, it makes it easier for me to work at my 4 jobs.

Yevhenii Peteliev, Software Engineer: When thinking about the significant utility of Vision Pro, it's more about entertainment rather than productivity.

Spatial audio

Yevhenii Peteliev, Software Engineer: Vision Pro has its own integrated audio system via straps with one important caveat: speakers are positioned close to your ears rather than inside your ears.

Dmytro Lutsik, Product Manager: I suspect it was made intentionally to prevent a complete immersion. You still need to have some awareness of the real world.

Virtual or augmented reality?

Yuriy Fedorenko, Service Manager: Apple was cautious to avoid the term VR. Even when showing deep immersion, the demo showed the visible elements of your surroundings. Thus, we are talking about augmented reality here. It's a fantastic decision because so many people don't want VR.

Yevhenii Peteliev, Software Engineer: I agree. Getting out of AR into the real world is not a seamless transition and requires time to come to your senses.

External battery

Yuriy Fedorenko, Service Manager: It was a great design decision to make an external battery that you would carry in your pocket. It makes the device lighter and more comfortable to wear. For me, that's a huge, huge plus. The external battery supports up to 2 hours of use, which won't last you every movie. That's why Apple was rather discreet about battery life. As a result, I assume you'll need several battery blocks, but I need to find out how easy it would be to perform a hot switch.

Development process

Yevhenii Peteliev, Software Engineer: Apple used 5,000 patents to develop Vision Pro. I almost mistook the number of patents for the price. According to Apple, Vision Pro is the most engineered product consumer electronics device, which is probably true.

How's it compares to the larger market?

Yevhenii Peteliev, Software Engineer: Apple again does things in its own style. There is Oculus from Facebook, Google Glass, Samsung Gear VR, etc. These devices have e for several years. And here comes Apple with its distinct path and extreme focus on AR.

On top of that, similar to Apple Watch bands, Vision Pro will offer many opportunities for customization as most parts are detachable.

Oleksandr Pronsky, Design Manager: Consider how far Apple beats all competitors regarding video quality. It offers 23 million pixels because the pixel size is smaller. In addition, you have a much higher refresh rate.

Can it become a product that everyone uses?

Dmytro Lutsik, Product Manager: Apple spent years creating a headset. I believed they would want to make their AR/VR headset into another mass-market product. However, it seems different for now, especially with a price tag of $3499.

Yet, from another point of view, Vision Pro may be the product that will push the market to adopt a new norm. Like they did decades ago when Macintosh revolutionized the idea of having a personal computer at home. We may be witnessing the same story here.

Yuriy Fedorenko, Service Manager: They can turn a VR/AR headset into a mass-market product with the resources Apple has now. The first Macintosh computer in the 1980s cost 7,000 today. Therefore, Vision Pro and its subsequent versions will be a much more impactful device than Watch and can become an item as common as a smartphone. There'll even be basic, non-pro versions for the people who cannot afford the cost.

However, similar to how iPads are widely used in civil aviation as a tablet of choice, I see how Vision Pro could also become an enterprise-grade product.

The new R1 processor

R1 processor. Image: Apple Inc.
R1 processor. Image: Apple Inc.

Vision Pro has two processes. M2 is an engine for computing, while R1 is responsible for all the process inputs, such as the real-time processing of sensors, cameras, and microphones.

Cooperation with Disney

Yuriy Fedorenko, Service Manager: The cooperation benefits both sides. Disney, on the one hand, is the largest media corporation in the world, with the most rights to different exclusive content. And Apple could give Disney a sufficinet DRM to enable the release of movie premieres. On the other hand, Apple may help Disney elevate its problem of falling subscriber base.

A new interface

Yuriy Fedorenko, Service Manager: Each generation of Apple products gets a distinct interface: keyboard and mouse for Mac, multitouch for iPhone, and now eyesight and hand gestures for Vision Pro.

Opportunities for MacPaw products

Oleksandr Pronsky, Design Manager: I see many opportunities for new software products tailored for Vision Pro, and we're not only talking about an AR version of CleanMyMac here. The new device offers so many capabilities for developers, and we would definitely use them in new and existing product designs.

Yevhenii Peteliev, Software Engineer: Vision Pro might be a perfect device for Gemini Photos. Today, we have some interface restrictions, but an infinite AR screen would make it so much easier to navigate your gallery with Gemini Photos.

New MacBook Air | Price, upgrades, what's better than the MacBook Pro?

Yuriy Fedorenko, Service Manager: The presentation started with new MacBook Air 13" and 15" models with M2 chips equipped with longer-lasting batteries and starting with a higher price tag. The choice indicates Apple's response to the falling MacBook sales. While offering outstanding quality, MacBook Pro is expensive. As a result, the company decided to expand its MacBook Air lineup to draw in consumers.

Yevhenii Peteliev, Software Engineer: I like how they build it up as a separate lineup. Remember when the MacBook lineup consisted of the MacBook Air and the regular MacBook. Later they added different screen variations of MacBook Pro. It's perfect to have MacBook Air that performs all its functions. The most significant impact is the clear distinction between Air and Pro. They intentionally made Pro somewhat bulky to indicate that it's indented for professional users. At the same time, Air is more than enough for those who seek a blend of performance and portability. What's most important, now these users can have a bigger screen estate.

Oleksandr Pronsky, Design Manager: While the base price of the MacBook Air has risen, users still get value for their money, and older versions got more affordable.

Mac Pro with M2 Ultra: Better than NVIDIA?

The compact Mac Studio and the high-end desktop Mac Pro now get even more performance with the new M2 Ultra silicon.

Oleksandr Pronsky, Design Manager: In the past, the M2 chip offered worse graphics performance than NVIDIA's top products. Again, I am talking about graphics cards here. For example, NVIDIA performed some rendering tasks 4x faster than Apple M2. It would be interesting to compare the new M2 Ultra vs. RTX 4090 or even a planned RTX 4090 Titanium. Apple has very complicated relations with NVIDIA, so it's yet to be seen how Apple will handle support for other graphics cards.

If you liked this discussion and want to hear MacPaw experts react to announced changes to iOS, updated iMessage, enhanced privacy, and customization, check out the full podcast It's raining cats & dogs.

This is an independent publication and it has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc.

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