We’re anticipating the release of MacOS 10.14 later this year (Apple likes to release them in the early fall), with a big announcement this summer at WWDC. And while iOS and MacOS aren’t merging any time soon, there are still bound to be some significant changes to Apple’s desktop operating system.
What can Mac fans and developers expect from the latest MacOS changes? What would be the best possible scenario? Here’s what we think.
An updated, accessible Dock
The Dock has lost some of its usability over the past few years, especially on larger iMac screen where it grows tiring to find and scroll over to the app you need and select it. The differences between open and closed apps on the Dock could also be more notable than a tiny dot.
Fortunately, some improvements in this direction are likely! There are already rumors that Apple is planning on creating a control panel, reminiscent of the control panel on iOS or the Windows 10 Start menu. It’ll combine the Dock, the notification bar, and Launchpad — three features that overlap but don’t mesh well on the current MacOS. This new feature would make it easier to control and open commonly used apps and documents, and we’re hopeful it will exist in some fashion.
Significant Siri upgrades
What does Siri do on MacOS? The voice assistant can search for things and answer basic questions, but there’s not a lot of full integration into data management or scheduling. Compared to a voice assistants like Cortana, Siri still falls very short of what modern assistants need to accomplish. When was the last time you ever heard someone using Siri on a Mac?
Apple has a lot of incentive to boost Siri’s capabilities in the next big MacOS update. Remember, Siri is already a big feature on the new HomePod, where she’s in direct competition with Amazon’s Alexa. All these voice comparisons have got to be weighing Apple down. We expect some sizable Siri changes, starting with a full integration with Spotlight (replacing Spotlight completely with a smarter Siri would be great). More app and email management would also be welcome, and we’ve got to believe Apple is working on these features.
New universal apps
The biggest rumor about the MacOS update is the advent of “universal apps.” These are apps that work equally well on iOS and MacOS, and can sync up more or less effortlessly. That means you could start work or communication on your iPad/iPhone, and then move onto your Mac and resume with the same project, at the same place, without missing a beat.
The apps would scale automatically between devices so you wouldn’t need to spend any time making annoying changes. They could even provide offer opportunities to control how data is stored across all your devices from one location. Universal apps also offer a lot of advantages to developers who want to create software with broad applications throughout the Apple ecosystem.
Make no mistake, universal apps are coming in some form. There are likely two different versions to look forward to: Updated iOS apps that will receive full functionality on MacOS and brand new apps (possibly enabled through new developer tools) that work with everything right out the gate. Either way, we’re excited.
Additional iOS compatibility
MacOS and iOS are two very different products for Apple right now, despite the fact that Apple fans would probably like to use them in tandem. Universal apps (mentioned above) are a big step, but there are all sorts of little things Apple could do to make MacBooks and iPhones get a long better. iMessage, FaceTime, and Handoff are great, but we want more.
There are also signs that Apple wants to move all apps over to 64-bit APIs for both iOS and MacOS — if not by this year, then in the near future. This will help considerably with compatibility while enforcing a cross-platform mindset where the differences between iOS and MacOS tasks fade away.
More professional-grade security options
We’d really like to see MacOS step up to the plate, acknowledge today’s data security issues, and offer a new suite of security tools that we can use on a professional level to protect data and create access controls more fluidly. Make it especially attractive to IT administrators, and this could do a lot to encourage more Mac use in the office and classroom.
It would also be nice if security patches rolled out in a more organic manner. Apple is rumored to have its eye on a security shift this year, so let’s see if this dream comes true.