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Takeaways For Developers From WWDC 2023

Jan 01, 2024

As has been the trend in recent years, the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2023) keynote has kept its focus centered on consumers. Announcements for enterprises were thin — watchOS 10 gets mobile device management support, Safari gets passkeys and profiles to keep work and home tabs separate … and that's about it. If you’re writing software, the trend away from Intel toward Apple silicon continues, but given Apple's policy on supporting older devices, we’ll probably see universal binaries for a while yet.

New APIs At WWDC 2023

Apple introduced several new or changed APIs for application developers. For software developers, these stood out:

One More Thing — That AR Device

By now, you’ve seen that Apple introduced the Apple Vision Pro, a (starting at) $3,499 augmented reality device. The device needs modular pieces, including add-on lenses, for each user — that makes it unsuited to multiple users at an organization. It seems aimed at those who want a personal device that provides multiple large-screen views. Many iPhone and iPad apps will work on it unmodified, and Apple says that it’ll add compatible iPhone/iPad apps to the Vision Pro app store — most of the focus at WWDC 2023 was on big screens in darkened rooms rather than on 3D objects.

Apple Needs You To Build Its Killer App

Beyond 3D movies and big screens, there's not a lot from Apple to drive users to the Apple Vision Pro. Training and worker assist won't get much traction: The device is too personalized for the enterprise. Apple has established a partnership with Unity and demonstrated Microsoft Office suite apps on the device. At WWDC, Apple has around 30 developer talks on spatial and immersive topics — including one on optimizing your website for spatial computing. Another talk, "Optimize app power and performance for spatial computing," hints that Apple is pushing the limits of the hardware. Development won't be trivial when you move beyond 2D.

Enterprises Won't Be Lining Up

With the hardware demonstrated today, there's currently no compelling reason for an organization to invest in a fleet of Apple Vision Pros for its employees. Apple said that app and website developers won't be able to collect gaze information — but gave no indication about who controls the cameras, a frequent sticking point for organizations with trade secrets. Unlike the iPhone, the Apple Vision Pro in its current incarnation won't be a status symbol. You can't carry it around and subtly bring it out to impress other executives. This is the version for developers who want to get ready for the real thing.

This post was written by Senior Analyst Andrew Cornwall and it originally appeared here.

New APIs At WWDC 2023 Gaming ports get easier. Safari investment continues. Widgets get overhauled. Apple Watch sees an update. Apple talks ML, not AI. One More Thing — That AR Device Apple Needs You To Build Its Killer App Enterprises Won't Be Lining Up