Way back when, back just after the turn of the century, Apple unleashed OS X upon the world. And made us pay for the privilege of trying it out. ‘Kodiak’ hit the streets late in the summer of 2000, which means macOS Sierra, the latest incarnation, is, well, old.
Since those halcyon days of yesteryear, OS X has gone through all the known cat names of value, and hit its modern stride carrying various parts of California’s geography. Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, then Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, and now Sierra. What’s likable about Apple’s latest to grace the Mac?
Free Is Good
Since the iPhone debuted in 2007 and Apple Computer, Inc. became simply Apple Inc. we’ve been blessed by Apple’s riches. macOS Sierra is another free upgrade. Of course, you still need a Mac, and, as always macOS Sierra is not easily installed on generic personal computers (Hackintosh), but there’s much to like about it.
A few of us at Mac360 have blessed ourselves with the various public beta versions of macOS Sierra and here are our collective first impressions.
When? – Apple says macOS Sierra will arrive September 20th as a download from the Mac App Store.
How Much? – Apple has become so rich with cash that charging for an operating system that only runs on Apple’s own devices seems, well, wrong. macOS Sierra is free.
Which Macs? – Every year a few older Macs drop off the supported list, and macOS Sierra is no different. Here’s the official list:
- MacBook (Late 2009 and newer)
- MacBook Air (2010 and newer)
- MacBook Pro (2010 and newer)
- Mac mini (2010 and newer)
- iMac (Late 2009 and newer)
- Mac Pro (2010 and newer)
Now for a look at a few new features you will like and use.
Apple Pay – This is tied to your iPhone and whatever credit card you’re using for Apple Pay, but running into an Apple Pay icon or button online means you can use Apple Pay with a touch to the Touch ID fingerprint scanner or Apple Watch.
Siri – If you use Siri on the iPhone or iPad, you’ll love Siri on the Mac. It works just about the same way. Siri sits as an icon in the Dock. Click to ask a question. Unlike iPhone 6s and iPhone 7, Siri on the Mac does not have a ‘Hey Siri…’ feature.
Apple Watch – Use Watch to unlock your Mac. The new Auto Unlock feature will recognize the Watch is near and unlock and log you into your Mac. If you like that, you’ll love using MacID which does even more.
After using the Public Beta for about a month, I’ve come to realize that Apple has tempered expectations a bit (free can do that) and worked to improve performance, security, and the built-in applications, but hasn’t added massive new features that could disrupt your workflow.
Apple File System – this is a new file system that also works on tvOS, watchOS, and iOS.
Messages – if you like eye candy in your text messages, Messages for macOS Sierra will not disappoint.
Also built-in to macOS Sierra is Picture-in-Picture, the Universal Clipboard (copying features already present in various Mac utilities, including this one), iCloud Drive for Desktop, and a bunch of new features in Apple’s basic, built-in apps.
Photos gets a Memories tab to create slideshows. Safari warns you about Flash. Even Apple Music gets some love. Optimized Storage may take some getting used to. Older, less used files can be stored on iCloud to help with limited SSD storage on your Mac.
See? Plenty of new to make the upgrade worthwhile, but not so much as to overburden your Mac with untried and untested newness.