As expected, Apple announced the next version of OS X – dubbed Sierra – at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference and it incorporates a number of huge changes. The first change you might need to get used to is its name, however.
Unsurprisingly, the name “OS X” is being dumped in favour of “macOS”. The change just makes it consistent with its other operating systems – iOS for tablets and phones, watchOS for Apple Watch, and tvOS for Apple TV. In other words, this new iteration is now called macOS Sierra.
The biggest new feature for Sierra is the inclusion of Siri – five years after being introduced on the iPhone. It still works mostly the same as its iOS counterpart, except you are now able to search for files and save searches to the Mac’s Notification Center.
Sierra also sees new features being added to Continuity – which lets your Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad and MacBook all communicate with each other easily. The Apple Watch will now automatically unlock your Mac when you are using it. In addition, Apple will add a universal clipboard, allowing you to copy and paste between an iOS device and a Mac – for example, copying an image from an iPad to a presentation on your Mac.
Apple Pay is also coming to the Mac, allowing you to purchase goods easily from online shops via Safari. Instead of typing in your credit card details, you click on the Apple Pay button at checkout. This will then transfer the transaction to your iPhone or Apple Watch for you to authorise.
File and storage management will be a little bit easier in Sierra. It will sync your desktops between multiple devices – acknowledging that people store a lot of files on the Desktop and not in the Documents folder. Apple will also leverage iCloud to remove old files from your Mac – such as old iTunes movies or mail attachments. It will also have improved redundant file cleanup – such as removing web cache.
Other minor changes include picture-in-picture, and tabs being incorporated in most apps – including third-party apps. According to Apple, developers do not need to incorporate new lines of code to activate this feature, it should work out of the box when users install macOS Sierra.
A public beta of Sierra will be coming out in July, with a final release sometime in the spring – most likely in September.