Apple debuted their upcoming macOS High Sierra update for the Mac on Monday. The new operating system brings a number of new features to Apple’s Mac lineup of computers.
macOS High Sierra offers an all-new file system, support for High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) and an update to Metal, Apple’s advanced graphics technology that powers everything from machine learning to virtual reality content creation. macOS High Sierra also includes a number of refinements to the apps Mac users enjoy every day, including Photos, Safari and Mail.
Apple File System
The new Apple File System (APFS) offers up improved performance, increased security, and will provide a foundation for future storage enhancements. Apple says APFS makes copying files and directories “instantaneous,” and helps protect your data from power outages and system crashes. The new file system also provides enhanced security via its native encryption.
The new operating system also has complete read and write compatibility with previously formatted HFS drives and their data.
High-Efficiency Video Coding
macOS High Sierra also brings support for HEVC (H.265) to the Mac. HEVC offers video streaming and playback of 4K video files that are also up to 40 percent smaller than with the current H.264 standard.
Hardware acceleration is available on the new iMac and MacBook Pro models, and offers fast and power-efficient HEVC encoding and editing.
Metal 2 builds on Metal to tap into the GPU inside the Mac. The refined API offers improved performance, support for machine learning in speech recognition apps, natural language processing, and computer vision.
macOS High Sierra brings support for Virtual Reality content to the Mac for the first time. The new support will allow developers to create immersive gaming, 3D and VR content on the Mac.
Valve is optimizing their SteamVR platform for macOS and enabling connection of the HTC Vive headset, while Unity and Epic are bringing their VR development tools to macOS.
The macOS High Sierra Photos app brings a new always-on sidebar, offering albums and organization tools. It also offers a redesigned Edit view, which features new tools like Curves, for fine-tuning of color and contrast, and Selective Color, for making adjustments within a defined color range.
The Photos app can now add effects to Live Photos, and Memories will curate user photos and videos around various topics. The app now supports external photo editors, allowing apps like Pixelmator, Photoshop, and others to be launched from within Photos, with their edits saved to the Photos library.
Other macOS App Improvements:
- Safari can automatically use Reader to open articles in a clean, uncluttered format, while Autoplay Blocking stops media with audio from automatically playing in the browser.
- Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari uses machine learning to identify and remove the tracking data that advertisers employ to follow users’ web activity.
- Mail search gets faster and easier with Top Hits, which puts the most relevant results at the top of a user’s message list.
- Siri on the Mac responds with a natural and more expressive voice, and when using Apple Music, it learns music preferences, creates custom playlists and answers music trivia.
- Notes adds simple tables, where a user can type in cells, make edits and move rows and columns.
- Spotlight provides flight status information, including departure and arrival times, delays, gates, terminals and even a map of the flight path.
- iCloud File Sharing lets users share any file stored in iCloud Drive and collaborate with other people.
As this is the first beta of macOS High Sierra, things can change between now and the fall, when Apple’s upcoming Mac operating system will be release for free to Mac users. So, stay tuned.