Categories: MacWorkspace

WWDC 2016: Apple Dumps OS X, Announces Siri-Enabled macOS Sierra

Apple has renamed its desktop and laptop operating system to macOS, and is bringing its iOS digital assistant Siri to the operating system this Autumn.

Revealing the update at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, Apple said that its new operation system will be called macOS Sierra, which will focus heavily on continuity.

WWDC 2016: Apple Adds Siri to macOS Sierra / WatchOS 3 Makes Apple Watch Faster


MacOS Sierra users will be able to unlock their laptops or desktops through authentication with an Apple Watch, negating the need to type in a password, through a feature called Auto Unlock.

The copy and paste function will also work across various Apple devices, meaning that users can copy a link or text on a device like their iPhone, and paste it directly into macOS. Apple called this feature Universal Clipboard.

Apple’s storage platform, iCloud Drive, also gets an update. MacOS will automatically archive older files into the cloud, freeing up space on the desktop.

Apple has also brought Apple Pay to macOS Sierra. The ‘Pay with Apple Pay’ button will be available when purchasing items from stores that offer the feature, where the user will be able to authenticate the purchase via one-touch on their iPhone.

Perhaps the biggest updates to Apple’s operating system, which was previously named OS X, is Siri. Siri will now be available to use on the desktop, where users can search the web, search for files, or contact friends for the user. The search can be refined, too, with follow up questions. Users can then pin the search results to the desktop for quick access.

There’s also a new feature called ‘Picture in Picture’, which lets users minimise and separate a video playing on the desktop, and then have it playing in the background, where it is fully re-sizable and fully movable.

Patrick Moorehead, president of Moor Insights & Strategy, said that macOS Sierra brings some of the biggest improvements to the operating systems in years.

“These are black and white features, not shades of gray, that dramatically impact the user experience,” he said. “Auto unlock with Watch and Apple Pay on the web are huge as they change what many of us do every day on our PCs or Macs, that is, to login and buy stuff.”

With Optimised Storage, Apple may have finally gotten cloud storage right and will be better positioned to compete with Microsoft and Google. If the service works as reliably and as quickly as what they showed on stage, this could drive many consumers to even reconsider a Mac. Once people let this feature settle in, the more fanfare it will get,” he added.

MacOS Sierra is available to developers today, with the operating system set for general release in the Autumn.

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Ben Sullivan

Ben covers web and technology giants such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft and their impact on the cloud computing industry, whilst also writing about data centre players and their increasing importance in Europe. He also covers future technologies such as drones, aerospace, science, and the effect of technology on the environment.

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