At WWDC 2016 today (13 June), Apple revealed a slew of new features and capabilities for its next desktop operating system, MacOS Sierra, which will include its AI voice interface Siri, as well as Apple Pay arriving on the desktop.
As expected, Apple confirmed a new naming system for the Mac operating system, getting rid of the Mac OS X moniker and replacing it with MacOS, in keeping with its other platforms iOS, TvOS and WatchOS.
Also today, Apple revealed its biggest update to iOS with iOS 10, which brings with a plethora of phone, messaging and camera capabilities, as well as Siri search in TvOS and faster performance, and better navigation and fitness features for WatchOS.
‘With MacOS Sierra, you can get information, find files and multitask using Siri’
– CRAIG FEDERIGHI, APPLE
Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, explained that one of the key new features on Sierra is the ability to take all the files on your desktop and in the documents folder and access them on any Mac, iOS or PC device via iCloud.
He said that currently there are more than 10bn documents stored in the Apple iCloud Drive. This is likely to grow enormously as more users use iCloud as a way of linking their documents across devices.
Another key feature Federighi revealed was a new Optimised Storage feature that automatically deletes files you will never use again, such as undeleted trash and cache data. He showed how an almost full Mac was improved from just 15GB of free space to 150GB of free space.
Return of the Mac
Siri’s arrival on the Mac is likely to be revolutionary and users can use their voice to search for information, find files and send messages, add meetings to calendars, launch FaceTime calls and more. With its debut on Mac, Siri is now on all four Apple software platforms — iOS, MacOS, WatchOS and TvOS — and handles two billion requests per week across 36 countries.
Federighi revealed how Apple Pay can now be used to buy goods from the web and if users are buying goods through their Mac they can authenticate the purchase using Touch ID on their iPhone or via their Apple Watch.
Another key new feature on MacOS Sierra is Tabs Everywhere, which takes the tabs feature from Safari and makes it available across Mac apps that support multiple windows, such as Maps, Keynote, Mail, Pages, Numbers, Keynote and TextEdit.
Federighi also revealed the ability to use Continuity to copy and paste text, images, photos and video between devices.
Another neat feature is picture-in-picture on the Mac. MacOS Sierra lets you float video from Safari or iTunes in a window over your desktop as you work, and even resize, drag and pin video to any corner of your screen.
“MacOS Sierra is a major update that makes your Mac smarter and more helpful than ever with improvements to the apps you know and love and great new features throughout,” Federighi said.
“With MacOS Sierra, you can get information, find files and multitask using Siri, access your desktop and documents from anywhere, copy and paste between Macs and iOS devices, and rediscover precious memories in Photos.”
The developer preview of MacOS Sierra is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today.
Mac users can sign up for the MacOS Sierra Beta Program today and download the software starting in July at beta.apple.com.
The final version will be available for free from the Mac App Store this autumn.