Apple released a lot of iterative products in 2023, but there were also a lot of noteworthy announcements and surprises all year long. Apple revealed a sneak peek at its upcoming Vision Pro headset, brought back the full-sized HomePod, finally made the switch to USB-C for the iPhone, stopped making leather accessories, and much more.
In no particular order, here is a summary of some of the most important Apple news stories from 2023.
Look at the Vision Pro:
The Vision Pro was officially unveiled by Apple in June, following several years of rumours suggesting the company was working on a virtual reality/augmented reality headset.
With the aid of Vision Pro, you will be able to interact with apps as though they were floating in midair. Your hands and eyes can operate the headset thanks to its innovative visionOS operating system. It is powered by an external battery pack and features a Digital Crown similar to that of an Apple Watch for switching between virtual and augmented reality.
The HomePod Is Heading Back:
Since Apple unveiled a new model in January, the full-sized HomePod has made a reappearance this year.
The full-sized HomePod, which was phased out in 2021, and the second-generation HomePod share almost the same design. In contrast to the original model, it features an additional sensor that measures humidity and temperature indoors, but it also has two fewer microphones and two fewer tweeters. According to numerous early reviews, the new HomePod's sound quality is strikingly similar to that of the original model.
iPhone Finally Switches to USB-C!
At last, it took place. Following years of speculation and hope, all iPhone 15 models come with a USB-C port rather than a Lightning port.
The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are the only devices that can transfer data at USB 3.2 speeds of up to 10 Gbps, even though iPhones generally have a USB-C port. The USB 2.0 data transfer speed of the less expensive iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus is restricted to 480 Mbps, which is comparable to the Lightning speeds of earlier iPhone models.
The USB-C port on all iPhone 15 models supports charging an Apple Watch, an AirPods case, and other tiny accessories. DisplayPort allows for video output to an external display or TV and up to 4K HDR video mirroring.
A small number of Apple products and accessories still have Lightning connectors; these will probably all eventually be updated to USB-C models or discontinued
Green Bubble Aspirations:
Apple stated in November that the iPhone's Messages app will begin to support the cross-platform messaging standard RCS "later next year." That timeline suggests that RCS support will probably be included in iOS 18.
The default messaging experience between iPhones and Android devices should be enhanced by RCS support in the following ways:
- Improved quality images and videos
- Audio communications
- Typing hints
- Examine the receipts.
- Wi-Fi texting between Android and iPhone devices
- Better group chats, with iPhone users being able to exit a discussion involving Android users
- Better encryption than that of SMS
These cutting-edge features are already available for blue bubble conversations between iPhones through iMessage, and many of the features are also present in third-party messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp. The Messages app's green bubbles will get additional features when the iPhone gets RCS support.
Everything about Apple Wallets:
The Apple Wallet app for iPhones saw the introduction of a number of new features in 2023, including the Apple Card savings account and the Apple Pay Later financing option. However, not all of the news was positive, as it was revealed that Goldman Sachs, the Apple Card's financial partner, would be leaving the company in the next year or so.
The M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips for the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro were all revealed by Apple at once during its October "Scary Fast" event, which had a Halloween theme. The Pro and Max chips were kept for later.
With the addition of M3 Pro and M3 Max chips to the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, Apple has also introduced a 14-inch MacBook Pro entry-level model that still uses the M3 chip. Further upgrades to the laptops include 20% brighter screens for standard content and a Space Black finish for the M3 Pro and M3 Max configurations.
Velvet to FineWoven: Farewell Leather
Apple removed all of its leather accessories this year, including the MagSafe Wallet, AirTag holders, Apple Watch bands, and iPhone cases, as part of its environmental efforts. After Apple introduced a new FineWoven material to replace leather, users expressed dissatisfaction with the material's quality.
Final Cut Pro for iPad:
This year, YouTubers celebrated the iPad version of Apple's video creation software, Final Cut Pro. Prior to now, the app was exclusive to the Mac.
According to Apple, Final Cut Pro for iPad is the "ultimate mobile studio for video and music creators," tailored for the touch-first interface of the tablet. It works with iPad models that have the M1 chip or later.
Additionally, Apple released Logic Pro, an iPad app for creating music.
Teaser for Next-Generation CarPlay:
As promised, Apple delivered on its promise to reveal the first cars compatible with its next-generation CarPlay system in late 2023—with just a few days left to spare. The next-generation CarPlay experience in some of Aston Martin and Porsche's upcoming vehicles was teased earlier this month.
Aston Martin has stated that it will introduce its first cars with next-generation CarPlay in 2024, however no precise date has been given and few details are currently available.
A dedicated FM radio app, widgets, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, deeper integration with the instrument cluster and climate controls, and more were promised during Apple's June 2022 pre-release of the next-generation CarPlay experience. Every single car model and the brand identity of the manufacturer can have their interface customised.
When Apple first unveiled next-generation CarPlay last year, it stated that Acura, Audi, Ford, Honda, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Polestar, Porsche, Renault, and Volvo were among the manufacturers who were committed. Whether this list has changed since that initial announcement is unknown, aside from the addition of Aston Martin.