New macOS Sierra brings new toys to the Mac desktop

While Microsoft Windows 10 has been hogging many of the headlines in the last year, Mac owners finally get a comparable upgrade this autumn with the newly named macOS Sierra (OS X 10.12 in old money). The headline act in this update is Siri, finally coming to the desktop with the ability to search your data, photos and folders for information, and for the user to refine their voice searches to narrow down any results.

Additional features making their way over the iOS side of Apple’s house also include Apple Pay on websites, using your Touch ID on your phone for verification. There’s also a way to unlock your desktop or notebook just by holding your Apple Watch next to it. The Universal Clipboard also means you can use text, images and other content you copied on your iPhone or iPad and they will automatically appear on the Mac, ready to be pasted into other locations.

One of the key new desktop features is the arrival of tabs on any application. No longer will you need multiple windows or displays; just like your browser, you can have multiple documents or files open at once, all neatly tucked away. Also helping save space, picture-in-picture mode means you can move any video from a web page into its own small or large windowless player to enjoy watching without having to keep the original page open.

Behind the scenes, other new features include Optimized Storage, which will automatically move older or unused files to the cloud to free up more space for files you do need to use. They’ll always be available, even big video files, just not on your hard drive. All of these features will help the Mac experience become more fluid and appealing to the iOS generation.

However, with the value of the pound plummeting, expect the price of Mac hardware to rise sharply, very soon. Dell has already hiked UK prices by 10%, so if you were planning on getting a Mac or upgrading, jump now before those price rises do hit, something that even the free macOS upgrade won’t soften.