Apple’s annual WWDC developer conference date has finally been revealed, with the HomePod 2 maker confirming that the show’s opening talk will begin on June 5 at 10am PT / 6pm BST.
And while most of the rumors are currently about the anticipated launch of Apple’s long-rumoured virtual reality/augmented reality headset, me and the Which Hi-Fi? team also expects some major TV and audio announcements.
These are the four largest.
Apple AirPods Max 2
It’s no secret, we loved the original Apple AirPods Max. As we said in our AirPods Max review, Apple’s first set of over-ears are among the best wireless headphones we’ve tested, offering great sound quality in our testing, especially with Apple Music. That’s why we gave them a perfect 5/5 and also why if you’re lucky enough to see my predecessor in the wild he usually still wears a pair.
But they weren’t “perfect”. Main annoyances include the fact that they don’t use the more common USB-C connectivity for charging or wired connections. Not only is the lack of connectivity annoying since most devices use USB-C, but it’s also a big reason why the Max doesn’t support lossless audio, which is a shame if Apple Music do. With rumors suggesting that Apple could make the next move from Lightning to USB-C iPhone 15 line of telephones, the timing would also make sense.
The other minor annoyance we had is that you couldn’t swap out the Max’s headphone strap. This was a major point that we were excited about, with pre-release rumors suggesting you could. Adding the option would improve the lifespan of the AirPods Max 2 and be a win in durability.
That’s why we’re really excited about the prospect of Apple unveiling an updated version AirPods Max 2 that will fix these minor annoyances at WWDC 2023. However, we’ve used the word “want” in this feature as there are currently conflicting reports regarding their arrival at WWDC. While there are a number of “leaks” suggesting the AirPods Max 2 will appear, there’s an equal number suggesting we’ll only see new color options for Apple’s existing over-ears at the event, with the new model to be announced at a later date. year follows.
An update to Apple’s TV OS software is almost a certainty at WWDC. The conference always focuses on Apple’s software offerings, as those are for developers, with its main consumer show, where the new hardware is unveiled, usually in September.
Jump to our Apple TV 4K review and you’ll see we’re already big fans of the operating system, with a fantastic range of content, top quality streaming options and compatibility with most HDR standards and Dolby Atmos-powered Spatial audio.
But as with the first-gen AirPods Max, there are a few things we’d like to see added to the software at WWDC 2023. There’s been a lot of rumor about 8K streaming, and while that would be nice for future-proofing, given the lack of 8K content being offered right now is one important, more basic, thing I’d like to add.
In particular, why not install Apple’s new classical music app on tvOS? Given the number of people streaming from their Apple TV and how good it can sound when you have a pair of Apple HomePod 2s connected in stereo, based on our testing, this seems like a no-brainer. Check out our TV editor’s opinion feature at why he replaced his Sonos Arc with two HomePod 2s and you’ll see why.
All the press for WWDC was about Apple’s possible plans to launch a VR/AR headset. And normally we wouldn’t cover this given our assignment at Which Hi-Fi? for AV and audio.
The reason we’ve included it is that, unlike previous headsets from Vive, Oculus and PlayStation, pre-event rumors suggest that Apple’s headset will be as focused on music as it is on gaming.
specifically, the latest report from Bloomberg suggests Apple sees the headset worn at parties, discos, and even possibly live events like gigs. This caused some headaches for the team of Which Hi-Fi?, including myself. But presumably the idea is that it offers an experience like a silent disco, or possibly lets musicians add an element of altered reality to their act, like the immersive experiences we’ve seen on the Oculus Quest.
Whatever the final product, we’re curious to see if these pre-launch rumors are true and what specific uses in audio and TV it’s made for the headset.
The last item in this list has a question mark after it, like the AirPods Lite is a clear long shot. We heard a bunch of rumblings suggesting that Apple would follow Google and Samsung’s lead more than a year ago and release a “Lite” cheaper version of the AirPods, but things have gone quiet since then.
Without clear rumors or leads, it’s hard to give details of what to expect. But given how well Apple’s latest AirPods performed when we got them in for testing, we can’t help but get a little excited at the prospect of a cheaper version debuting at WWDC 2023.
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