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WWDC: New macOS Sierra brings Siri, Apple Pay
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NewsPoster
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Jun 13, 2016, 02:34 PM
 
Announced today at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, the Macintosh operating system will no longer be called OS X. Instead, it will be renamed macOS and the next version is specifically macOS Sierra. Highlights of the new system include the long-awaited addition of Siri to the Mac plus Apple Pay on the web, a Universal Clipboard for copying and pasting across all your devices, plus some potentially controversial changes to how your documents are stored.

Apple calls this Optimized Storage: using settings that you choose, macOS Sierra will manage your documents for you. So far we've been shown how files and folders you haven't used in some period can be automatically taken off your Mac and moved to iCloud. Old files can be automatically deleted for you: items left in your Trash for a predetermined time may be permanently erased to save space.

Optimised Storage, Potential Problems

Both of these options will be controversial because both of them are capable of making certain of your documents inaccessible either because you're offline and so can't reach iCloud or because they have been actively erased. Longstanding users of Macs may be familiar with utilities such as Hazel that automatically delete items in the Trash after a certain period, though, and newer iOS users may be more familiar with how documents are stored in iCloud Drive. The benefit is that it does save space that is unnecessarily being taken up –– and that will be especially useful on Macs with small SSDs –– but we at MacNN are keen to see how clearly these options are set.



Apple's iCloud Drive is also getting extra features that will mean all your documents are available to you on all your devices and so is your desktop. However many Macs you use, you may be able to have the same desktop on them all so that everything is always available to you and everything is in familiar places. This doesn't just apply to Macs, either: while the desktop per se won't be available on your iPhone or iPad, the files and folders that you use will be.

Working across multiple devices

The new macOS Sierra will bind iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch and Macs together more closely. Where now you need to enter a password when you open your MacBook, you will be able to skip that step because the Mac can connect to your Apple Watch with Auto Unlock. You've already shown that you're you because you tapped a passcode into the watch when you put it on this morning, so the Watch can authenticate you for the Mac. The result is being able to just start working right away.

If you currently work across multiple devices such as an iPad, an iMac and a MacBook, then you are used to copying items across using a variety of options such as Apple's Airdrop for images and documents or third-party clipboard managers like Copied for anything you copy and want to paste. With macOS Sierra's Universal Clipboard, anything you copy on your MacBook is automatically placed in the clipboard on your iMac. So select something on the iMac, copy it, then turn to your iMac and choose Paste. It works exactly as if you were using only one machine.

Apple Pay, tabs and Picture in Picture

Similarly, you can now use iOS and your Mac together when you want to buy something online. Apple Pay has come to the web and now where it's available as an option for purchasing items, you can click on your Mac to make a payment and then prove it's you via authenticating on your iPhone.



While you're doing all this copying, pasting and authenticating, you may end up with even more Finder tabs open than ever. The forthcoming macOS Sierra includes a way to manage those tabs that's the same as you may be used to in the Safari web browser.

Then while you're managing your tabs, you can now be watching a video using Picture in Picture. Rather than keeping an entire web page open so you can see the video on it, you will be able to do as you would on an iPad Pro and watch the video in its own separate, floating window. You can resize it and move it around as you want.

Apple's Craig Federighi, demonstrating macOS Sierra at WWDC today, promised that more features would be coming –– seemingly including an update to Photos –– but the biggest change mentioned today was most awaited. Siri will now be on your Mac.

At long last Siri

We've yet to see whether Siri on the Mac will feature always-on listening as it does on iPhones where you can just say aloud "Hey, Siri" and have it react to you. At the least, though, Siri will be available via a keyboard shortcut which is quick and therefore also means you can ask Siri questions even while working in full screen in another app.

It doesn't appear that you can call up Siri and talk to it while, for instance, you carry on typing in Pages. However, it does mean that you won't have to move out of full screen to use it.

In most respects, Siri for macOS Sierra is like the Siri we know well on iOS: the same kind of graphic animation appears when it's listening to you and Siri responds in a familiarly flippant way. That might get annoying if yore used to only occasionally using it on your iPhone but now end up using it continually on the Mac.

There are some extensions to its features, though. Federighi demonstrated how Siri can now refine its answers: you ask it something and then ask it to do something with the results. The WWDC demonstration was of searching for certain types of documents and then having got a long list, telling Siri to narrow the search down to ones sent by a particular person. This does mean that Siri is taking on some of Apple's Spotlight features but it appears in a sensible and useful way.

It's especially useful because any list of searched-for items is not just a list. Say you ask for all the photographs you took on a particular trip: Siri will list the lot and you can drag ones off the list, directly into an email or other document.

Availability

Apple announced that it is continuing its recent policy of releasing public betas of its new operating system. Expect macOS Sierra to arrive in this beta form in July.

-William Gallagher (@WGallagher)
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Jun 13, 2016 at 02:35 PM. )
     
bcarney
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Jun 13, 2016, 02:42 PM
 
No phucking way will I be using iCloud; I don't trust Apple's cloud services. I'll stick with OneDrive thank you very much....
     
And.reg
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Jun 13, 2016, 03:01 PM
 
Any chance that macOS Sierra will fix my reported bugs? And here's another one: Three out of four times, when I Paused the live stream, it would not replay. I had to reload the whole webpage.
     
Mr. Strat
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Jun 13, 2016, 03:28 PM
 
I don't want the OS moving anything anywhere. If they bump up the litiful 5GB of cloud storage, I might think about it, but still not without my OK.
     
Halfloaf
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Jun 13, 2016, 03:45 PM
 
What bugs me is the seemingly needless requirement to dump support for older machines. What in this OS will make it so special that it cannot run on a dual Xeon Mac Pro from 2009 with a K5000 graphics card? Or for that matter, a 3,1 Mac Pro with dual Xeons? No Apple, I'm not buying a new Mac Pro.

And there is no way I'm using iCloud, thank you very much....

To me, this is just another move from Apple to consumer grade intergration and a move away from the pro market.
2012 Macbook Pro 13" 8GB Ram 250GB SSD
2010 5,1 Dual 2.93 Ghz 6 core Mac Pro 48GB Ram 250GB SD, 2x 1Tb HD, 1x 320GB HD, GTX970 Black Edition
     
Steve in Seattle
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Jun 13, 2016, 04:20 PM
 
No mention of iTunes so, presumably, it will remain the unusable bloatware monster that it has become.
     
coffeetime
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Jun 13, 2016, 04:33 PM
 
macOS? Sounds familiar.
     
Inkling
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Jun 13, 2016, 04:44 PM
 
It's 2016, for pete's sake. The open-source spelling checker that underlies macOS is so primitive, one single pair of transposed letters leaves it clueless. About half the time, it offers no suggestion for the proper spelling, which wastes a lot of time. Paste that same misspelling into a Google search, and you'll see the correct spelling about 98% of the time. (Why can't Apple do what Google can do so easily. Maybe Apple could just add a "check spelling with Google feature.") And macOS is so clueless of proper English spelling rules (don't hyphenate 'ly' words), that it thinks any two English words are also a properly spelled word if hyphenated. Not so. "Quickly-go" isn't legitimate. Yes, it would be great if, while making all these tweaks to Siri and iCloud that are of little value to many of us, Apple would also do something about macOS's 1988-era spelling checker. It'd have been an embarrassment in Word 4.0.
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Charles Martin
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Jun 13, 2016, 04:51 PM
 
Much as I appreciate and applaud calls for improvements to OS X's spell-checker, there is a workaround: *learn to spell.*
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Charles Martin
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Jun 13, 2016, 04:56 PM
 
OneDrive is an excellent service; despite some recent brief outages (that did not affect me personally), I find iCloud to be a very good service.

Also had no issue with the live stream today at any point.

Mr. Strat: take the tinfoil hat off, it isn't mandatory.

Halfloaf: aaaand that's why we didn't get a mention of a new Mac Pro. I think you can consider the line officially dead, so I commend you to our This Old Mac Pro series.

Steve in Seattle: iTunes works great for me (now, following much hair-pulling over the initial 12.x releases)
( Last edited by Charles Martin; Jun 13, 2016 at 07:03 PM. )
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DiabloConQueso
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Jun 13, 2016, 05:29 PM
 
> *learn to spell.*

> that did not effect me

Eeek!
     
Stuke
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Jun 13, 2016, 05:47 PM
 
More change for the sake of change. iTunes is the biggest lynchpin disappointment in recent OS X versions that not to have a big overall in the "new" macOS Sierra version (like separate Apple Music and iTunes applications) is clearly a sign of destruction of the ecosystem formerly known as "It Just Works."
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Charles Martin
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Jun 13, 2016, 07:01 PM
 
Ha! Doh! Fixed.
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PJL500
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Jun 13, 2016, 08:20 PM
 
iCloud $torage is a scam...
     
mindwaves
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Jun 14, 2016, 07:35 AM
 
I do like the ability to access my Mac Desktop through my iPad.

Updated Music app would be nice.

Messages is very nice with the 3x emoticons.

New file storage is nice also that replaces HFS+.
{{{ mindwaves }}}
     
DiabloConQueso
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Jun 14, 2016, 09:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by PJL500 View Post
iCloud $torage is a scam...
$1/month for 50GB is a scam?

$3 for 200GB is a scam?

Methinks you need to compare pricing of iCloud storage to the other popular cloud-based storage services and re-evaluate your statement. It's not the cheapest available, but it's certainly not a "scam" by any stretch of the imagination.
     
Flying Meat
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Jun 14, 2016, 02:43 PM
 
Is it too much to hope for Apple Pay to be available soon in El Capitain, Yosemite,.. the App Store, and iTunes?
I'd love to not have my credit card on file, or jump through various alternative hoops, if Apple Pay can be rolled into their own stores.
     
And.reg
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Jun 20, 2016, 07:42 AM
 
Why did they make the "m" in "macOS" lowercase? Are they going to rename Macbook to "macbook" as well? This is inconsistent. They should have called it MacOS. The computer is called a Mac, not a mac.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Jun 20, 2016, 11:50 AM
 
I'm with you on MacOS/macOS.
     
   
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