Apple introduces macOS High Sierra

Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi has taken the stage at Apple’s WWDC keynote to introduce the next major version of macOS. They’re calling it macOS High Sierra.

Think of this like a Mountain Lion-style update—Craig said “we wanted to spend this year perfecting Sierra.” There have been several improvements made, but it doesn’t sound like much in terms of new features.

“macOS High Sierra delivers important forward-looking technologies and new opportunities for developers wanting to tap into the power of machine learning and create immersive VR content on the Mac,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “The core technology innovations in macOS High Sierra, combined with our advances in hardware, will continue to push the Mac forward in exciting new ways.”

Among those new ways  is a faster Safari. Craig says Safari in High Sierra is the “fastest browser in the world.” It also has a few new features like blocking AutoPlay videos and something called ‘Intelligent Tracking Prevention,’ which uses machine learning to protect your privacy from sites/ads that want to track you.

There is also Mail enhancements, a new file system—Apple File System replaces HFS, improvements to the Photos app, enhanced 4K support, and Metal 2 for better graphics performance. An important note: Metal 2 supports external graphics, which opens up the door for Virtual Reality content creation.

Other new features:

  • 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.
  • 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.

macOS High Sierra is available in developer beta form today, and will be released to the public this fall.