Mac OS Rebranded To macOS; Latest Version To Be Called Sierra? New Features Revealed

By Anton Chua , Updated Jun 15, 2016 06:57 AM EDT

Mac OS has had its name for sixteen years - an eternity in the software world. Now, all that's poised to change, as Apple announced at WWDC 2016 that its desktop OS is now going to be called macOS, a renaming that puts it in line with Apple's other operating systems like iOS, tvOS, and watchOS. 

The new operating system is launching with its latest version, Sierra, and comes with a whole host of features that, like its name change, more closely unifies it and other Apple platforms, along them to communicate and interoperate.

One new feature coming to macOS Sierra is Auto Unlock, which allows you to use your Apple Watch or iPhone to unlock your Mac simply by being in its general vicinity, obviating the need to input a password and shaving off several seconds in the process.

Another is Universal Clipboard, which unifies the pasteboards of associated macOS and iOS devices, allowing you to copy content from one device to another. For example, you could copy an image or some text off your iPhone and paste it directly to your Mac, so you won't need to copy files between the devices, go through another cloud storage service, or - God forbid - mail yourself links and files as attachments.

macOS Sierra users will be able to leverage iCloud through Optimized Storage, which seamlessly takes old and infrequently-used files like movies, old attachments, browser caches and the like, and transfers them to the cloud. You'll also be able to access your macOS desktop as well, from any other Mac or from your iPhone.

Apple Pay is now landing on macOS's Safari browser, allowing you to pay at certain retailers with Apple Pay. You'll be prompted to use Touch ID on your iPhone, or tap your Apple Watch in order to validate the purchase.

Finally, the seminal iPhone virtual assistant Siri is coming to macOS at last, allowing you to search for files in your Mac, play songs from Apple Music, and much more, all by clicking the Siri icon in the top right corner of your desktop, or by saying "Hey Siri" to call her up. 

It's clear that Apple intends to make all of its OSes play nicer than ever before, vastly improving the user experience of users who are highly invested in the Apple ecosystem. The name rebranding and all these features make that pretty clear, and it's exciting to see how this will turn out as macOS evolves.

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