Ain’t no California mountain high enough for Apple. At this morning’s annual developer conference, WWDC, the company announced its newest desktop operating system: macOS Sierra, which is slated to be readyfor Apple customers this Fall.
Although the name Sierra is in step with Apple’s naming its desktop clients after California natural landmarks, it also marks a shift in its naming convention more generally: Apple desktop OS has replaced the suffix “X” with the prefix “mac,” following the naming convention of the company’s other hardware operating systems: tvOS, watchOS, and iOS.
Siri joins the desktop OS with this next release. The idea is that you’ll be able to use Siri much like you already use Finder and Spotlight, the traditional Apple desktop search engines. You can ask Siri to search for files, switch between apps, and do quick math. It can also query the Internet and allow you to drag and drop those results into other apps running on your desktop.
While these updates are exciting alone, Apple is hoping Siri will be able to do more. As part of its introduction to desktop, Apple is opening Siri to app developers with a new software development kit, putting Apple in the race to build the best digital home assistant, alongside Amazon’s Alexa.
But Siri isn’t the only the exciting addition to Apple’s new desktop. Sierra brings new levels of interoperability between Apple devices and makes better use of storage for your take-a-photo-of-every-sunset smartphone habit.
Floating Between Machines
Sierra is also engineered for more intuitive continuity between how you use your suite of Apple products. Take copy and paste, for example: with Sierra, users will be able to copy and paste between their iPhone and desktop. So if you copy a line you’re reading from an article on your phone, just right click on your desktop to paste it in a text field there, a feature Apple is calling Universal Clipboard.
Sierra will also include an update to allow you to see your computer desktop on your phone, so if you quickly saved a screenshot on your computer, you can Tweet that from your phone by accessing your macOS desktop folder from your iPhone. This update is driven by improvements to iCloud, which Sierra has optimized for better sharing across devices. As to whether this will actually be more convenient than the timeworn tradition of emailing yourself is hard to say.
If you have an Apple Watch, it will be able to communicate toauthenticate your credentials on your computer too. That means no more typing in a password to securely unlock the screen.
Secure wireless communication between Apple devices is being rolled out with Apple Pay too, whichis trusted and easy to usemostly thanks to its integration with Apple’s Touch ID, the iPhone’s biometric authentication fingerprint reader. That same convenience and security (it’s not easy to hack someone’s fingerprints) is coming to the desktop. With the new operating system, if you’re buying things online, you can authenticate your purchases quickly and easily with Touch ID on your phone, ergo expanding compatibility of Apple Pay and offering biometric security for desktop purchases simultaneously. Take that, PayPal.
Sierra is even more integrated into iCloud—it has a storage management feature that makes room for new files on your machine by gathering up your old content pushing it to the cloud.
Other updates improve how you glide between apps on your desktop, with a new picture-in-picture option to increase productivity between apps. So if you’re trying to catch up on your Veep habit while filling out an expense report, no more trying to shape two browser windows on one screen. Now the video plays as like a popup window in that can freely move and be expanded across the screen, making for a much cleaner workspace and less tab confusion between disparate browser windows.
Finally, tabs: Sierra introduces a new Tabs API that will allow app developers to add support for tabs. That could mean Tabs in Spotify or Tabs in iTunes. It could mean Tabs everywhere, and that means getting more work done at once, more room to look things up in the middle of finishing one task, and most importantly, more tabs.
Apple has released a developer preview today. A public beta version is due in July, and regular customers will be able to get their hands on the freshly minted operating system later this fall.
Read more: http://www.wired.com/