WWDC 2023 is official! But wait, what is that in the announcement image?
This afternoon, Apple officially announced the dates for WWDC 2023, its worldwide annual developer conference. The company says that WWDC will kick off on Monday, June 5th, and run through Friday, June 9th. It also confirmed that a select group of developers and students (as well as the usual flood of press and influencers) will be able to head over to Apple Park in person for a “special experience” on Monday.
Apple hasn’t said what time the keynote will officially kick off, but every other recent WWDC keynote happened on the first day of the conference at 1:00 PM EST, so it’s likely that we’ll follow the same schedule for this year as well.
But wait. What does “special experience” mean? Why does Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations, say that “WWDC23 is going to be our biggest and most exciting yet”? And most of all, what is that in the announcement image?! It’s time to put on those tin hats and rant about how this event will DEFINITELY unveil the long-anticipated AR/VR headset.
It’s not hard to look at the announcement image and immediately think, “those are definitely lenses.” What has lenses? It’s an iPhone, for sure. But wait — Apple won’t announce an iPhone at WWDC — that’s in September. What’s left for something that would be a huge announcement that isn’t an iPhone? Oh yeah, Reality Pro, Apple’s long-anticipated augmented and virtual reality headset.
To be honest, I’d be shocked if Apple didn’t unveil at least a preview of the headset at its developer conference. The iPhone is successful because of the App Store, and the App Store is successful because developers make a ton of apps for the App Store. If the company wants to make its headset successful, it’s going to need to get the buy-in from developers, and what better time to do so than WWDC?
In addition to Reality Pro, the company will need to announce and showcase realityOS, the software that is expected to power the headset. WWDC not only gives Apple a high-profile place to announce the headset but have a whole week to bring developers up to speed on all of the things that they can build for it. They’ll never have a better chance to try and get the developer community excited to develop for the headset.
The rumors have also been ramping up about the headset’s unveiling. In addition to some recent parts leaks, there was also a report that the headset was recently demonstrated to the company’s executives at a meeting at Apple Park. That seems incredibly timely, considering that WWDC is Apple’s next event — a perfect time to get final approval and work on the announcement and eventual launch.
Of course, I could be wrong. We could all be wrong! I and many of us have been wrong plenty of times before. But I don’t know — this feels like the one. The event is what sets this one apart.
While we may see the headset at WWDC, there still isn’t solid evidence that Apple will actually launch the headset shortly after or even announce pricing. It could be a preview, like when the company announced the new Mac Pro and then took months to finally ship it. I wouldn’t blame them — it would give more time for more apps from developers to be ready at launch.
We only have a little over two months to wait, but I’m betting we’re going to get to see Craig Federighi announce realityOS and Reality Pro in June.