This weekend was special because I finally got to install and try out macOS Sierra, the successor to Mac OS X El Capitan, and Apple’s latest and greatest for the Mac. If you don’t mind that the Mac has become a bit more iOS-like in recent years, you’re in for a treat. macOS Sierra looks like fun.
Fun. For. Free.
Just like its predecessors, and as Apple has done for a few years now, macOS Sierra will be available later this year, and the upgrade will be free and work on Macs going back to 2009-2010. Apple realizes that having the same OS running on the most number of Macs is a greater advantage than charging $129 for the privilege of upgrading.
Apple changed name. Again. Remember Mac OS? Then OS X? And all the cat flavors? In keeping with the simpler and more elegant iOS, watchOS, and tvOS, OS X has become macOS, and this year’s version is Sierra (I’m still hoping for macOS Rancho Cucamonga next year; CEO Tim Cook didn’t respond to my macOS Bakersfield request).
First, Siri comes to the Mac.
Wherever you are on the Mac, whatever app you’re working in, Siri is available a click away. That’s the problem. It’s a click. Listen, I like using Siri. Apple’s intelligent personal assistant gets better over time and with more use.
What’s good about Siri on the Mac is, well, Siri is on the Mac. The bad part is Siri requires a click. I don’t even need a click to use Siri on my iPhone 6s Plus thanks to Siri’s always on feature. If that’s on the Mac I haven’t found it yet.
Regardless, Siri searches well using Spotlight, handles iTunes, launches apps, and performs a few other tasks, but she won’t do a Starbucks run.
Second, the Universal Clipboard. For those Mac users who have never used a clipboard manager, the Universal Clipboard– which simply makes whatever is on the Mac’s clipboard available on other Apple devices– will seem like a wonderful gift.
Third, Messages on the Mac gets some of the love found with Messages on iPhone and iPad. That means plenty of iCandy with animations, built-in applications, stickers, even predictive emojis.
While the iPhone has 3D Touch and the new Messages makes extensive use of the pop up technology, I haven’t seen that on my Mac notebook’s Force Touch trackpad.
Still, all those cool features in iOS are not fully implemented in macOS Sierra, but the ones that are remain fun to use.
Fourth, Photos. Apple is doing the best it can to keep up with Google’s Photos functionality and yet maintain personal privacy. So, Photos on macOS Sierra gets improved sort functions for photos and videos, and a cool way put your photos onto a map using the Advance Computer Vision feature in Photos.
That’s right. You’ll be able to search for scenes, objects, people, even various locations, all from within Photos on your Mac. The Memories feature creates contextualized slideshows and videos based upon information stored on your Mac (vs. stored on the cloud, like Google Photos).
See? More fun.
Fifth, Auto Unlock. You know what a drag it is to walk up to your Mac after lunch and have to login. That’s so 1999. With Auto Unlock in macOS Sierra– plus, ownership of an iPhone and a Watch– that unlocking becomes automatic.
Step away from your Mac and it locks up. Come back, and it unlocks again. Cool, right? If you like that, you’re likely to love MacID, a free utility for the Mac which works in concert with MacID for iOS and– insert drum roll here– unlocks your Mac when you’re near, and locks it back up when you walk away. Except MacID has a few other cool features, like a trackpad pattern which unlocks Mac notebooks.
Apple has much more going on in macOS Sierra and as I continue to take it for a test drive I’ll provide updates. I think Mac users will like the new iCloud Drive (and have to pay more money for more storage), the option to use Apple Pay on websites and validate a purchase using Touch ID on your iPhone. The Safari video picture-in-picture works well, but I’ve had some issues using the Tabs feature across multiple applications.
Otherwise, macOS Sierra is shaping up to be one of the most fun– and less geeky– Mac OS upgrades in recent memory.