The dates for Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference 23 have been announced - June 5 to June 9. And while the event is a great opportunity for app developers to get together to share and learn the latest, it's Apple's own opening keynote that grabs all the attention, being a special developer-focused showcase of new products and technologies from the tech giant.
WWDC (often referred to as 'dub dub' by hardcore Apple fans) has taken place since 1983, for forty years straight and has seen the company move from being upstart innovators, to plucky underdogs, to worn out also-rans to the richest company on the planet. And given the current line up of Apple hardware and software platforms we should expect the latest additions to MacOS, iOS, iPadOS, WatchOS and tvOS to be unveiled alongside a big fat invite for developers to make the most of them.
One more thing…
Traditionally new hardware is thin on the ground at the software and dev-focused show but this year that could change with rumours suggesting that their in-the-works VR/AR headset may finally put in an appearance.
Indeed, the invite for the event appears to tease a set of nested 'pancake' lenses of the type used in VR goggles…
And mirror flipped there's the outline of an eye…
Or is the pic just a reference to Apple's inclusive rainbow stage as part of their Apple Park campus?
Apple have used WWDC to unveil upgrades to laptops previously but the new unveil of a 'new product category' for Apple would certainly be a WWDC rarity. Famously Apple reveals its hardware in September (new iPhones and so on) with availability soon after, in time for 'the holiday season'.
That said Apple have previously unveiled the iPhone (2007) and iPad (2010) at events earlier in the year to allow devs to get up-to-speed with dev kits and have software ready for launch in the familiar September hardware launch window.
Introduction of their headset would represent Apple's first new category launch since the Apple Watch introduction in 2015 and the first since the departure of design guru Jony Ive in 2019 and only the second since the passing of company founder Steve Jobs in 2011.
Speculation suggests that the new headset would overlay content onto the real world, giving owners new ways to engage with entertainment content, find their way around, or learn more about anything that they were looking at.
As such, it's a reveal that's a big deal... And - if it comes to pass - would involve Apple asking devs to mobilise globally and begin pumping out content for a whole new new device. Expect a whole new App Store looking for new app talent and promising whole new revenue streams… If the product is a hit, of course.
However it doesn't look like such a launch would be plain sailing at the present time. Rivals at Meta have been floundering with their Oculus headsets gaining any kind of traction with even their Quest 2 being 'surprisingly good' rather than 'a smash'. Thus the rumoured, alarm-ringing $3,000 asking price for Apple's first venture into the arena would appear to put it firmly into the same 'pro and enterprise only' niche slot as Meta's 'meh' Quest Pro ($999).
It may simply be too soon for any kind of Apple-fuelled breakthrough just yet.
How to find out more
The event will be streamed on the Apple website and within the Apple TV app. So do keep your eyes peeled for that famous 'one more thing...' moment at the end of the keynote on June 5... But don't hold your breath.
Although the conference this year will be online - as it has been for the past few years due to Covid - selected guests will be able to attend and watch the keynote live at Apple Park, their business campus in Cupertino California and home of the Steve Jobs theatre. Expect keynote host CEO Tim Cook and the usual bevy of board members to dish out the good news.
Although other companies have been gaining on Apple in recent years, the tech giant still boasts one of the most loyal fanbases in tech and a corresponding paying customer-base. With their highly successful Apple Arcade being an increasingly prominent part of the mobile landscape, and their phones still some of the most widely used, WWDC is sure to be one to watch for fans and mobile devs alike.