SharePlay in cars and AirPlay in hotels is great - but I wanted more Apple audio news at WWDC 2023

Apple AirPods Pro 1st gen
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Apple’s WWDC keynote has been and gone and while there was plenty to get excited about, for me personally, it was a bit of a damp squib when it came to audio announcements.

Jump over to my pre-event what to expect from WWDC 2023 guide and you’ll see there was plenty of buzz about potential upgrades to its AirPods hardware, as well as a wishlist of new audio quality improvements we wanted.

But come the event, none of the features appeared, with Apple instead focussing on the updates it made to its homegrown computing silicon, upgraded Mac desktop and MacBooks and hotly anticipated headset, the Vision Pro.

And to be clear, if we were a computing or gaming website I’d be much more positive and excited about the releases. 

I’m not personally sure about Apple’s pitch to have the Vision Pro replace my TV - even if it can give you a “100ft viewing experience” - given my past experience reviewing Oculus and Vive headsets over the years. I’ll address why this is the case in a separate opinion piece.

It’s because the company was oh so quiet about any quality upgrades to its music and mainstream audio offerings. There were painfully few quality upgrades to be seen at the event. Hi-res audio on Apple TV? Nah. Lossless on the AirPods Pro Max? Not a whisper at the event.

Instead, what did we get? Productivity and Dolby Vision upgrade to tvOS 17 and news SharePlay is coming to cars and AirPlay will be featured in “select” hotels. Now don’t get me wrong, as a man who loves a good Festify, I can see the appeal of Shareplay in a car. And if I used Apple devices as my daily driver being able to connect to a TV in a hotel to stream my stuff using a simple QR code is convenient.

But, because it’s Apple I really was hoping for more. Specifically, I really wanted to get more hardware upgrades. The HomePod 2 is one of the most impressive speakers we’ve tested this year. Its clever ability to work in stereo as a home cinema sound system, brilliant sound and cool smart functionality earned it a perfect five-star rating when we reviewed it. 

I was really hoping to hear some insights about Apple bringing some of its best features to the smaller HomePod Mini, which is beginning to show its age. 

Equally, while the AirPods got a cool new Adaptive Audio feature, which is basically a really clever ambient mode, what I really wanted was for it to showcase upgrades for its products' sound quality - like the ability for its top-of-the-line AirPods Pro Max over-ears to play proper lossless audio.

The fact Apple has not mentioned improving audio at all feels like a missed opportunity and one I really hope doesn’t repeat if it wants to retain its place as one of the leaders in the world of big-tech hi-fi.


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Alastair Stevenson
Editor in Chief

Alastair is What Hi-Fi?’s editor in chief. He has well over a decade’s experience as a journalist working in both B2C and B2B press. During this time he’s covered everything from the launch of the first Amazon Echo to government cyber security policy. Prior to joining What Hi-Fi? he served as Trusted Reviews’ editor-in-chief. Outside of tech, he has a Masters from King’s College London in Ethics and the Philosophy of Religion, is an enthusiastic, but untalented, guitar player and runs a webcomic in his spare time.