Update 2/24/2016: Added rumors about the name of OS X 10.12 and the inclusion of Siri.
With OS X 10.11 El Capitan embracing all Apple users with its operating system arms, Apple users have quickly found out that it’s…well, it’s a whole lot like Yosemite. That’s the whole point of this latest system improvement update, but it has left some people feeling a little let down by the lack of new things. So there’s never a better time to turn hopeful eyes toward OS X 10.12 and discuss some of the latest rumors of new features.
Apple has not officially announced a name OS X 10.12, but the rumors leaked so far have cited the code-name “Fuji.” While that doesn’t seem to fit with the California theme at a glance, it turns out that Fuji apples are frequently grown in California.
Support for Siri has been a rumor for years, but it will finally happen in OS X 10.12, according to 9to5Mac. The website, citing an anonymous source, says Apple plans it as an OX 10.12 launch feature.
According to the source, Siri will reside in a menubar icon in the upper-right hand corner of the user’s Mac, next to the Spotlight and Notification Center icons. When active, it will be represented by a dark, transparent interface, much like those found in iOS 9 and tvOS. Users can activate it the digital assistant by clicking, or through a user-defined keyboard shortcut.
It’s not clearly exactly how Siri will call up information. The Search function in OS X is a bit different from the iOS implementation, and that presumably will have an impact on what users can access, and how they access what they can. For example, the file search features in OS X are obviously a lot more involved than iOS, since the latter doesn’t have an exposed file system.
Interestingly, the rumor suggests that Siri will only respond to voice commands when on power. That seems a bit odd, since Cortana can respond when plugged into power, or not.
There’s a good chance that Apple’s apps will be converted to Swift in 2016 with the OS X 10.12 update. If that doesn’t mean anything to you at all, then it’s time to go back in time and talk about the Swift programming language.
Apple created Swift as a way to develop apps more easily, in ways more suited to the modern world of app use and development. It was originally designed for iOS, OS X, and watchOS – basically all Apple platforms. After some in-house work Apple introduced Swift in 2014, made it open source, and encouraged developers to use it. In general, Swift got great reviews from the pros. It combines several useful qualities of older languages like Objective-C, adds some extra-handy programming shortcuts, and generally just helps new and experienced alike when entering the app world.
The problem with introducing a new programming language is that people need to switch over to it. For a few years now Apple has been struck a balance between old apps written with other languages and new apps written with the evolving Swift code. OS X 10.12 is expected to provide a new update for Swift that includes pre-installed code binaries to save data, as well as convert older Apple apps fully into Swift.
These next few rumors are all intertwined, but let’s start with potential (and hopeful) changes to the Apple file-system, or the method used to store data and retrieve them again when necessary. Apple has been using its own file-system, HFS+, for many years now. In fact, HFS+ is pretty long in the tooth these days and no professional really likes working with it anymore. Over the past several updates to OS X, it has been theorized that a file system update might be inbound.
Perhaps Apple will switch to a new option like BFS or ZFS. Perhaps they are working on a new in-house file-system. Concrete details are sparse, but at this point any announced change to the file-system would not be a surprise. The big question is if Apple will wait until OS X 11, or make the changes in OS X 10 – the sooner the better, as far as die-hard Apple fans and developers are concerned.
Do remember Time Machine? A lot of Apple users do…but today’s Time Machine hasn’t evolved well. Its usefulness as a backup system is minimal when it comes to saving and protecting data. And let’s face, we’ve got a lot of data to work with these days. Not all of our movies, music and projects can be effortlessly zoomed up to the iCloud without major expenses. It’s no surprise, then, that a frequently requested update for OS X is a new Time Machine, or a better backup option altogether, especially for media.
Apple has been unrolling steady iCloud updates, and OS X 10.12 probably won’t be an exception – the question is just what Apple will do. The trend has been toward greater reliance on iCloud for storing long-term data. Apple could increase those capabilities with new features, or (fingers crossed) lower the prices on upgrading iCloud so that it could become a more feasible way to backup your computer.
More integration with other Apple systems
The Apple Watch, the revamped version of Apple TV, iOS – Apple will have plenty of opportunities to include new integration between Macs and its other various devices, and it would be very strange if 10.12 didn’t capitalize on that.
For example, Apple may add the ability to unlock or lock a Mac through the Apple Watch. This could be done through an app on the Watch, but it also could be done through some form of proximity detection using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
Such capability might also be rolled out to iPhone. For example, it’s easy to imagine unlocking a Mac with a swipe of the iPhone’s fingerprint reader.
As for Apple TV, it would be nice to see better integration between the two, allowing more seamless streaming from computer to the Apple TV, or full-fledged remote control.