At the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced the latest version of its desktop and laptop operating system, MacOS Big Sur.
Some of the new features coming in MacOS Big Sur include a new rounded and floating look for the dock and major redesign to essential apps like iWork, Finder, Podcasts, Mail, and Photos.
Apple also says it redesigned buttons and controls and brought new levels of depth shading to the operating system. For users, that means a new suite of sounds, icons that are more refined, and a translucent menu bar.
“MacOS Big Sur introduces an entirely new design and major updates to some of the most essential apps on the platform. And just like its name. Big Sur brings you unmatched levels of power and beauty,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering.
Elsewhere, a new Control Center in Mac OS Big Sur will allow users to turn on dark mode, activate night shift, and customize their Mac controls. It even is redesigned, with a single view to group notifications. Users can also add similar widgets from iOS 14, like notes, the clock, and more.
The same features announced for Messages iOS 14 will come to iMessage on the Mac, too. Big Sur also introduces a revamped Maps app with support for favorites, creating guides, and indoor maps.
With the Safari web browser that comes bundled in MacOS Big Sur, Apple improved web page loading so it is 50% faster than Chrome. It is also getting a customized start page which lets you set a background image, add sections, tabs, and more. Apple says Safari is the fastest desktop browser available and that it has “industry-leading battery life.”
Other new features in Safari include a privacy button for each website and a feature that securely monitors your passwords to make sure that they have not been compromised. For users switching over to Safari, there is even a new button in the toolbar which can easily bring over extensions from other browsers.
As for developers, Apple improved the Mac Catalyst feature. They will be able to adapt iPad apps for Mac OS and optimize apps for the native resolution, leverage new menu and keyboard APIs, and date pickers. The Maps app on Bug Sur is an example, taken directly from iOS 14.
MacOS Big Sur will be available to developers on June 22, with a public beta following next month in July. It follows up last year’s release, MacOS Catalina.
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