Apple in 2023: iPhone 15 Ultra, MacBook Pro 2023 and everything expected

iPhone, Apple Watch and MacBook
(Image credit: Future)

Apple had quite the year in 2022. It kicked off with the arrival of the iPhone SE (2022) and even fit its M1 chip into the new iPad Air, only to be way outpowered by the M1 Ultra in the Mac Studio. Then we waved hello to the stylish MacBook Air M2 and (lackluster) 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2, but announcements really kicked into gear when we saw the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro, Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra, and AirPods Pro 2.

With the revamped iPad 2022 and next-gen iPad Pro with M2 thrown in, this year has seen the widest array of Apple devices to launch — Mark Gurman wasn’t lying. Sure, it was filled with highs (The M2 chip suits you, MacBook Air) and lows (Is the standard iPhone 14 really worth the upgrade?), but it was an exciting year nonetheless.  

So, what does Apple have in store in 2023? Well, according to the rumor mill, quite a lot. We’re still waiting to ring in the new year, but there’s already murmurs of fresh 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, the iPhone 15 lineup, and even talks of an all-new iPhone 15 Ultra. Oh, and how could we forget Apple diving into virtual reality with the  Apple AR/VR headset?

From the rumored 15-inch MacBook Air to talk of an M3 chip, here’s everything to expect from Apple in 2023. 

 MacBook Pro with M2 Pro and M2 Max 

First on the register is Apple’s highly anticipated updates to the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro. This may come as a surprise, as many Mac fans expected to already have the Pro models with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips in their hands. While 2021 brought us the highly praised MacBook Pro 14 and 16-inch models in October, there was no Apple October event in sight in 2022 — and that means no big laptop reveal. 

(Image credit: Future)

Now it’s widely believed the MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch with M2 Pro are expected to be “coming early next year.” According to a source speaking with Gurman, the updated MacBook Pro models will coincide with the launch of macOS Ventura 13.3 and iOS 16.3 in the first quarter of 2023. We’re thinking some time around March, given that 2022’s March event shed light on the M1 Ultra and Mac Studio.

So, what exactly can we expect from these models? If we’re going by looks, not much. Last year’s MacBook Pro 14 and Pro 16 saw a huge revamp, so it’s hard to imagine Apple moving on from the well-liked design only a year after release. However, we may see a new color added to the mix, much like the gorgeous Midnight MacBook Air.

Real changes are expected to be made under the hood. M2 Pro and M2 Max appear to be the inevitable updates for the MacBook Pro 2023 14-inch and 16-inch models. Gurman states the new models will be getting these new chips, and they’re already looking powerful. M2 Max benchmarks surfaced on Geekbench in early December, revealing performance improvements over the M1 Max.

Apple MacBook Pro 2021 (14-inch)

(Image credit: Future)

One of the leaked benchmarks spotted on Geekbench show it hit a 2,027 single-core score and a 14,888 multi-core score. This was under model ID "Mac14,6" and comes with 96GB of RAM.  It runs macOS Ventura 13.2 and also shows a higher base frequency of 3.68 GHz — a step up from the 3.54 GHz in the previously alleged benchmarks.

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Compared to the M1 Max in Apple's 16-inch MacBook Pro model, the M2 Max clearly offers a decent bump in performance. According to Geekbench, the M1 Max scores around 1,790 in single-score and 12,800 in multi-score.

It shouldn’t be much longer until we see the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, but we hope they don’t get pushed back until later in 2023. 

iPhone 15/ iPhone 15 Ultra 

It’s inevitable. Every year we see a new slate of iPhone models, and 2023 isn’t looking any different. However, next year’s iPhone 15 is expected to include a wild card: the iPhone 15 Ultra. 

(Image credit: 4RMD)

The rumor mill is already churning out plenty of gossip about what Apple’s next flagship phone will deliver, such as all iPhone 15 models coming with the recently seen Dynamic Island, the Ultra model introducing the a titanium chassis to iPhone, and the lineup featuring a new border design with rounded back edge corners.

It’s too soon to say if any of this can be believed, but one thing we’re anticipating is Apple ditching its Lightning port. The addition of a USB-C port instead is due to the EU mandate forcing Apple to include USB-C in its smartphones, and unless Apple decides to make smartphones specifically for the EU, we’re expecting this switch to happen.

The most exciting word on the street is the inclusion of the iPhone 15 Ultra. Apparently, it will replace the usual iPhone Pro Max models, and may even come with dual selfie cameras. If “Ultra” is anything to go by, this may be Apple’s most expensive smartphone yet, given its rumored titanium design and how costly the Apple Watch Ultra is. Currently, it’s tipped to start at $1,299, but if that’s the case, you can expect some high-end specs.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Apple is pretty consistent when it comes to iPhone releases, so it’s likely we’ll see a new iPhone lineup come September 2023. 

15-inch MacBook Air 

The MacBook Air only recently got an exciting revamp, but rumor has it that Apple is planning to release a 15-inch MacBook air in 2023. Both Apple trackers Ming-Chi Kuo and Mark Gurman have pegged the new 15-inch model for a spring 2023 launch, meaning we could see it at Apple’s usual WWDC event in June.

Not too much is known about the new super-sized MacBook Air, other than it being the first in the popular Air lineup to have a 15-inch display. We can expect it to look similar to the M2 MacBook Air, seeing as it was only recently revamped. But word on the street is it will be similar in size to the 16-inch MacBook Pro, albeit keeping its usual trademarks like its thin and light design. 

(Image credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The latest MacBook Air comes with a 13.6-inch Retina display, so expect a similar form factor — just bigger. It’s unknown what Apple plans to stick under the hood, as it may keep the new models M2 chip or skip ahead to an M3 chip surprise. Only time will tell if Apple is bringing out a 15-inch MacBook Air model at all, but we’re sure to hear more rumors as we approach spring 2023. 

Apple AR/VR headset 

 It seems like years since the first Apple AR/VR headset rumors started appearing, and that’s probably because it has been. But 2023 seems to be the year we’ll finally get to see what virtual reality looks like for Apple, even though it’s reportedly been pushed back, according to Ming-Chi Kuo. Don’t fret, however, as it’s now looking to be scheduled for the second half of 2023, instead of the rumored second quarter of the year.

Since early rumors started popping up, including the headset’s whopping $3,000 price tag, we’ve heard a few more interesting details. For one, Kuo believes the mixed-reality headset will be priced from $2,000 to $2,500, and instead of its operating system being called “realityOS,” it’s now tipped to be “xrOS.” As Gurman claims, Apple believes that the xrOS name is more fitting of the headset's software capabilities. XR stands for extended reality; the mixed-reality headset will purportedly have virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) features.

(Image credit: The Information)

The headset is expected to come with virtual versions of Apple's popular apps, including Messages, Maps and FaceTime. In addition, the AR/VR headset may even use iris scanning for payments and logins. In terms of hardware, the AR/VR headset will reportedly come with two 8K displays and an M1 chip. Now, an M1 chip seems unlikely, seeing as we’ve already been introduced to M2.

We know some kind of an AR/VR headset is coming, seeing as CEO Tim Cook has already hinted at Apple’s plans in the AR space. But will it be the niche product it's expected to be with Kuo predicting that shipments will be less than 500,000 units? That’s anyone’s guess until we hear more from Apple. 

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.