If you upgrade from OS X 10.11 El Captain, to version 10.12 this fall, you’ll be upgrading to macOS Sierra not OS X. You can try an early version of OS now, here’s the goods if you decide to give it a test. macOS Sierra will be a free upgrade and works on any mac from 2010 and on, and MacBooks and iMacs from 2009 and on.
Siri finally comes to Mac. Off the tails of Microsoft’s integration of their built-in speech assistant Cortana. The Mac doesn’t listen to you all the time so she won’t respond to “Hey Siri”. Rather she pops up with a keystroke, the default keystroke being Fn +space, or a mouse click works just the same. Siri will be there in a second to help you find nearby restaurants, closing times, weather reports, sports scores, news, a picture, whatever you name it. You can drag Siri’s answers from a pop-up window to the notification pane or drag images into documents. A new preference panel allows you to decide whether you would like Siri to respond to questions with voice or typed responses. Perfect for work folks. You can also choose Siri’s gender and nationality.
Sierra introduces a universal clipboard that lets you save text on a Mac and paste it into your iPad or iPhone, and vice a versa. Tightening up the Apple ecosystem once more. You can also enjoy automatic unlocking of a Mac, when an unlocked Apple Watch is close by.
New to the Mac is picture in picture. On the iPad you can extract a video from a Web page and have it play on your macOS desktop without the surrounding Web page. The video stays playing, in the same position, even when you switch among multiple desktops.
The Finder is also improved. A new option that automatically empties items from he trash after 30 days, should make for more efficient machines. You can also employ the new option to put folders first when the Finder lists files and folders by name. Windows has had similar features for years. Long overdue for Mac.
Unless you turn this new feature off, Sierra will automatically upload to iCloud form your desktop and documents folders. The point here is that all the files that you use most often will be instantly available on any of the Apple devices you use. Even the Windows devices you use that have iCloud installed. Could be a good tool for those switching back and forth between Sierra and Windows machines. Sierra will also advise you on which files you might want to delete from your Mac and store in the cloud, only downloading them when needed. Although this might be a good option for those with limited space on their machines but with loads of space available in the cloud, the 5GB free in the cloud will certainly not be enough if all files are being uploaded to the iCloud automatically. Perhaps a small ploy to get users to entertain more iCloud storage.
The Memories feature in Photos uses facial recognition to combine related photos into movies that pan in and out of your pictures with a soundtrack added. It’s a pretty cool feature, not sure if it will have a profound effect on the average user, but we will just have to wait and see if it takes off.
Maps, Mail, and any application that normally opens multiple windows can now use separate tabs instead. I really appreciate this feature, although small, it significantly de-clutters my screen. When I use Mail and have an average of 3 messages open at once, they are all organized and easy to use with the integration of tabs. Much easier navigation and efficiently.
More to come in 2017…Apple plans to release a new file system to users in 2017, called Apple File System (APFS). This should bring new security, speed, and reliability features. Only available to developers now, Apple is planning to take their time testing and perfecting the file system before it’s release. This will be the biggest file system change Apple has had in 30 years. Stay tuned.
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