To a mix of laughs and applause from the audience at WWDC, Apple’s annual developer conference, Craig Federighi, head of Apple’s software, revealed the name High Sierra. “This name is fully baked,” he said.
Federighi emphasized that High Sierra is geared toward refinements and deep technology improvements that drive the Mac and its apps. Obviously, we still need to get our hands on MacOS High Sierra to test, but here’s an overview of new features and capabilities it brings.
Live photos become GIF-like
Some of the:
- Expanded sidebar view with all of your imports in chronological order
- Face tagging synchronized across all your Apple devices
- Selective Color lets you select a color to modify during an edit
- Easier way to use Curves to control highlights, midtones and shadows in your photos
- Photo edits synchronize across all your Apple devices
- Improved organization filters for photo collections
- New Live photos effects like Loop to make Live photos have a GIF-like repetition, Long Exposure to add DSLR-like motion blur and Bounce to play Live photos forward and backwards
- New Memories categories: pets, babies, outdoor activities, performances, weddings, birthdays and sporting events
- Direct support for third-party apps like Adobe Photoshop and Pixelmator that saves your edits as you go back-and-forth between apps
- Improved People view and layout
Safari gets Usain Bolt-fast
Safari, Apple’s default web browser, will get a noticeable speed increase. Federighi claimed that it will be 80 percent faster than Chrome when running on High Sierra. :
- Faster browsing speeds than Safari running MacOS Sierra
- Autoplay blocking on videos and per-site settings to enable autoplay on the websites you choose
- Intelligent tracking prevention to stop advertisers and others from tracking your online behaviors and history
- Specific website personalization that remembers things like your preferred page zoom percentage and whether content blockers and location tracking are enabled
Siri sounds more human
Siri will be more expressive and sound more natural. Siri can also DJ for you using your listening preferences as a guide. These features will be welcome on the Mac, but will also come in handy for that was teased during WWDC.
Heavy Metal graphics
Apple expects High Sierra to be the best MacOS for gaming with the addition of Metal 2. Developers can use the tool access more graphics horsepower and machine learning processing for their apps. For example, Apple uses Metal 2 to power photo identification in its Photos app. Metal 2 also points tocapable of handling the demands of AR and VR software development.
Your files are safer and faster to copy
High Sierra introduces Apple File System a more modern take on the Mac’s 30 year old file construction. These updates will mainly affect the performance when you interact, copy and protect files:
- Built-in crash protection
- 64-bit processing (instead of 32-bit)
- Native encryption
- Instant file and directory cloning
Big video in a small package
MacOS High Sierra will take advantage of what Apple calls high-efficiency video coding (HEVC) aka H.265 for videos, which promises 40 percent more compression than the current H.264 codec widely used on videos today. All this means that as more devices are able to capture HD, 4K and 4K HDR video, the quality of the video will be preserved better without taking as much room on your device.
Other updates that deserve a mention:
- New split view in Mail for composing messages
- Your iMessage history is saved to iCloud so a new device will have all your old messages
- Share your iCloud storage plane with your family
- Expanded Spotlight search for flights and improved Wikipedia integration
MacOS High Sierra is available to developers starting today.
This is a developing story. Follow our WWDC live blog for real-time coverage.