There’s a good chance that a MacBook owner also owns an iPhone — it’s an Apple thing — and so the latest Mac OS update is made with these people in mind.
If you own an Apple computer, it might seem like the past few years of operating system updates has been inching forward to a world where everything “i” is connected.
Take “Messages” for instance: who would believe that you’d be able to send and receive messages based on your phone through the same app on your computer?
Using the Apple ID network, however, iPhone owners can do just that, sending and receiving the same messages from their phone, and even getting calls rerouted through their MacBook, iMac, or even an iPad, all while their phone is a few rooms away, as they all communicate on wireless networks.
If you don’t use a Mac and you have an iPhone, or you do use an iPhone but you don’t have a Mac, this congruity is something you don’t get to see, and it’s something Apple has yet to open up to Windows users with an iPhone. You know, you have to leave at least one or two features to draw people over to a new computer and a different operating system.
This week, there are a few more of those extra features as Apple concentrates a little harder to connect devices in its iUniverse, sharing things using a virtual clipboard from device to device, providing support for Apple Pay, and even bringing Siri to the Mac for the first time.
That last one is particularly important, because as Apple opens up its voice assistance and what it can do, it becomes a little more useful than merely asking it to remind you of something and checking the weather.
On macOS Sierra — which is technically known as Mac OS 10.12 “Sierra” for those used to writing things the way they were before marketing got stuck into renaming — Apple’s Siri can now work as an indexing system for a Mac, looking through documents, emails, messages, photos, and more.
In essence, Siri has now become the mouthpiece for what has evolved from Apple’s “Sherlock” search functionality, providing a way to talk to your search because talking can be easier than typing.
Sharing is also one of those things computer users love doing, and Apple is linking up phones in a way that no other operating system has quite thought of yet (at least as far as we’ve seen).
With macOS Sierra, you can now copy files, words, and photos from one app on an iPhone and iPad, and shift it over to a full desktop environment, opening up a world of possibilities if you’re used to searching for things on your phone and want to see them bigger or scrapbook them into larger projects.
That’s more of that Apple ID congruous technology at work, and it now saves you from either bookmarking and reopening, or even just emailing the links or files to yourself, easily the most logical way of getting this done before Apple rolled out this feature.
Apple Watch owners also get to see a bit of that congruity, with the smartwatch acting as a bit of biometric security for a Mac, unlocking an Apple computer because you’re nearby.
There are other features worth talking about, too, including Apple Pay support — less useful in Australia at the moment since only American Express and ANZ are supported, not enough banks or cards to get the masses going “yippee!” — while the native Photos apps will curate “Memories” using algorithms to track familiar faces, objects, and scenes, sort of like a curator for your images so you don’t have to ever wonder where those images are.
Apple’s iTunes has also changed its look, likely to connect better with the new design seen in the recently released iOS 10, while Apple will also send old and not-so-used items to the cloud when your Mac starts getting a little too full.
And the price of this operating system update? Well, just like every Mac update for the past few years, it’s free and supports all Macs since 2009, though we’d check Apple’s website if you’re concerned that your slightly older iMac may not qualify.