macOS Sierra release date, price, features and latest news: Developer Beta 5 and Public Beta 4 arrive for macOS Sierra

Apple has now unveiled the latest version of its OS X desktop operating system, but it’s had somewhat of a name change and make over. Indeed, it’s now called macOS, with the latest version dubbed macOS Sierra.

The change was announced at Apple’s WWDC developer conference on 13th June. Here’s everything we know about Apple’s newest version of macOS.

macOS Sierra: latest news

10/08/2016: The fifth Developer Beta of macOS Sierra ahead of its anticipated launch in September.

Developer Beta 5 is a stack of updates across Apple’s whole OS suite, including iOS 10, WatchOS 3 and tvOS 10. In macOS Sierra, the update is mainly restricted to bug fixes and “improvements” according to the release notes. However, as spotted by Neowin, there are also instructions on how to set up the new Auto Unlock feature, which it turns out requires two-factor authentication.

Public Beta 4 was also released alongside Developer Beta 5, both of which were released earlier than expected. Apple normally leaves 14 days between Beta releases, but on this occasion only left a week. The release of the finished version of macOS Sierra is expected within the next six weeks at Apple’s 2016 Special Event.

15/07/2016: macOS Sierra, Apple’s next Mac operating system, has received a number of changes to its Preferences, including major security changes.

In the public beta changes to security, disk start-up and a new Siri control panel can be found.

In the Security pane, Apple has removed the option to allow apps downloaded from unauthorised sources (allow apps from ‘Anywhere’) to be manually installed on the system.

It should be remembered that Sierra is still in beta. However, if the change sticks, then Apple may be taking a far tougher approach to non-licensed Mac software for its latest OS – something that will help protect less technical users from the troubles of occasional Mac malware, but could prevent others from installing perfectly safe unlicensed apps.

Other changes include the Siri pane, which lets users enable or disable the voice-operated assistant. Language options can also be changed for Siri.

The desktop Dock preferences now contain a ‘Prefer tabs when opening documents’ option.

And the Dictation and Speech preferences have also been combined inside the Accessibility pane. Mac users with configuration profiles in use will also find options to change their profile setting from this pane.

The macOS Sierra public beta can be downloaded now. Visit our sister site, Alphr for more on how to download it yourself.

12/07/2016: Apple has lost its position as the world’s fourth-largest PC manufacturer after a difficult second quarter saw the company’s sales drop further behind rival manufacturers.

The company’s sales dipped almost 5 per cent in Q2 according to reports from Gartner and IDC, shrinking from 4.8 million units down to 4.6 million.

This allowed Taiwanese manufacturer Asus – which experienced a sales uptick of 1.3 per cent last quarter – to swoop in and push Apple into fifth place.

Apple’s 4.9 per cent decline was more than double that of any other manufacturer, analysts said but remained roughly on track with the overall decline in global PC shipments.

“All regions except North America experienced a PC shipment decline,” said principal Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa.

Gartner also noted that while Brexit has not yet had any quantifiable impact on the PC market, it could potentially throw the entire sector into disarray.

11/07/2016: Apple has rolled out the public beta for its new desktop OS, macOS Sierra.

New features of Sierra include Siri integration, Auto Unlock via Apple Watch, Apple Pay for Safari, and enhancements for Messages, Photos and Apple Music.

Alongside its macOS beta, Apple has also opened the public beta for iOS 10.

The macOS Sierra and iOS 10 betas can be found on Apple’s Beta Software Program website, which includes details on how to register for the programme.

The public beta programmes are free to users. However, Apple strongly recommends that those participating in the betas install the software on secondary devices since bugs and other issues are still being ironed out.

Apple has previously seeded betas of its new OS to developers.

For more on how to download the macOS Sierra public beta, visit our sister site, Alphr.

06/07/2016: Apple has released its second beta of macOS Sierra for developers.

Sierra is the company’s latest operating system for its iMac desktop computers and MacBook laptops, announced at the Worldwide Developer Conference in June.

A change discovered in the second beta so far is the ability to auto-unlock a Mac using an Apple Watch. It requires the user to have an iCloud account with two-factor authentication enabled, and be attempting to unlock 2013 Mac or later, as well as having a iOS 10 on their iPhone andwatchOS 3 on their Apple Watch – both of which are also in the beta testing phase currently.

The beta update for Sierra can be downloaded via the software update prompt in the Mac App Store or from the Apple Developer Center.

Access to the developer beta requires that a user is part of the Apple Developer Program.

Public betas of macOS Sierra and iOS 10 are expected to be made available later this month and you can sign up for them via Apple’s beta page.

15/06/2016: Evidence for rumours Apple is replacing the MacBook Pro’s physical function keyboard row with an OLED touch bar may exist within the code for its latest operating system, macOS Sierra.

For instance, 9to5Mac pointed out, a code resource dubbed “kHIDUsage_LED_DoNotDisturb” suggests an LED ‘do not disturb’ button may exist, and the same “kHIDUsage_LED” reference crops up again with functions for fast forward, rewind, play, pause, and Mac power functions, which currently sit in the function row of keys.

13/06/2016 UPDATE:  Apple has announced the latest version of its desktop software for Mac, and the rumours were true – the company has renamed it macOS.

The name brings the branding of Apple’s desktop software in line with the rest of the company’s platforms, including iOS, watchOS and tvOS.

The latest version of the software has been named macOS Sierra, and includes a host of new features based on cross-device continuity.

As expected, one of the key features was the addition of Siri functionality to macOS. Launchable via keyboard shortcut or dock icon, Apple’s virtual assistant can perform complex file searches based on a variety of different criteria.

Users can access all the standard functions they’re used to on iOS, like messaging and web search. This now includes a host of new integrations, thanks to the fact that Apple has now opened up Siri’s API to third-party developers.

Alongside Siri integration, macOS Sierra also introduces Auto Unlock. This feature uses the proximity of your Apple Watch and your mac to automatically and securely unlock your computer without having to type in a password.

In addition, the clipboard function is now persistent across Apple devices, so you can copy something on your iPhone, and then paste it directly from your Mac without having to transfer the file.

Similarly, improvements to iCloud Drive now allow users to access all of their documents – including their desktops – on any Macs they own. All files will also be accessible across iOS devices.

Improvements have been brought to storage as well. macOS will store files it thinks you won’t need right away in the cloud, freeing up local space on your hard drive. It can also get rid of data that you’re unlikely to need ever again, including the Safari browser cache and unemptied trash.

One of the most immediately useful functions introduced with macOS Sierra is the fact that tabs are coming to third-party apps. Similar to browser tabs in Chrome or Safari, users can now organise multi-windowed programs into separate tabs within one window.

It’s not just coming to selected apps, either – tabs are coming to all third-party apps, with no action required on the part of the developer. This feature will have a huge and immediate impact on anyone who uses a Mac for multi-tasking.

Finally, Apple Pay is coming to the web. Selecting the Apple Pay option will launch a prompt asking the user to authenticate the purchase using touchID on their iOS device.

The developer preview of macOS Sierra is available now, with a full rollout for users coming in Autumn 2016.

13/06/2016: OS X 10.12 – which may be renamed MacOS – has been spotted in the wild ahead of its general or even beta launch.

According to VentureBeat, a startup named Realm is “seeing the database used on OS builds that haven’t previously come out … in its anonymised usage logs”, which includes a reference to OS X “Version 10.12 (Build 16A185)” and iOS “10.0 (Build 14A262)”.

It has been suggested that the next version of Apple’s desktop operating system will not be called OS X 10.12 but will instead return to its pre-OS X name of Mac OS, or, rather MacOS. This would bring it into line with other operating systems like WatchOS, iOS and tvOS.

If the Realm logs prove to be correct, however, it would suggest that contrary to these persistent rumours, Apple will continue with its “OS X xx.xx” naming convention.

Whatever it ends up being called, the next Apple desktop operating system is expected to be announced today at WWDC during Tim Cook’s keynote and become available in September or October. Also expected to make an appearance this evening are iOS 10, a new version of tvOS, updates to iTunes and Apple Music, a new Macbook and possibly the iPad Air 3. You can follow along with all the action as it happens on ourdedicated WWDC 2016 page.

08/06/2016: Apple appears to be planning to rename its Mac operating system from OS X to MacOS, and may make the change official at next week’s WWDC press conference.

Apple listed the name ‘MacOS’ on one of its environment pages for Earth Day 2016 – the page has since been updated, but 9to5Mac caught a screenshot of it.

Renaming OS X to MacOS would fit with Apple’s current naming conventions regarding iOS, watchOS and tvOS.

Many Mac users already refer to the operating system informally as MacOS, and there have also been hints in the OS X code that it may be due for a name change.

In addition to this, reports have been circulating that the name for Apple’s next desktop OS will be ‘Fuji’. It is thought this is because of the Fuji apple, which is grown in California.

Potential new features for OS X 10.12

Apple’s voice-operated assistant, Siri, has made big strides on iPhone and iPad. Now it is thought that Siri will, at last, be coming to Mac, and will be a “tentpole” feature of OS X 10.12.

Other rumoured updates include major updates to the Photos app, a redesign of iTunes and improvements to the file management for local storage and iCloud.

WWDC takes places next from 13-17 June in San Francisco.

24/05/2016: Apple is planning to introduce “thinner and lighter” MacBook Pros, with upgraded physical interfaces, at the end of this year, according to a note from industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

The new MacBooks are said to take cues from Apple’s 12-inch MacBook, and will include Touch ID support along with a new OLED display touch bar above the keyboard, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, 9to5Mac reports.

Apple’s upcoming line of MacBooks is expected to come in their current screen sizes of 13in and 15in, though their designs will be more compact thanks to a new metal injection moulding process.

Alongside its new MacBooks, Apple is expected to introduce a 13in retina MacBook that will be based on its 2015 12in MacBook, which was recently given a performance boost.

Following Apple’s refreshed MacBook lineup, Kuo said the MacBook Air will be positioned as its entry-level tier.

Apple’s MacBook refresh is expected to happen in the further quarter of this year.

More news on Apple’s new MacBooks is expected at WWDC next month.

23/05/2016: Apple could introduce a new remote unlocking feature for Macs and MacBooks with OS X 10.12 when it is launched in June atWWDC.

According to various rumours, the new feature will enable users to unlock their computer with their fingerprint without Apple introducing any new hardware.

This will be made possible by linking the user’s iPhone (if the have one) to their computer, which will then enable them to use Touch ID on the smartphone to unlock the Mac or MacBook with “Remote Touch ID”. The intention is to get round one of the most persistent computer security problems in the world – the regular use of weak passwords.

This feature will almost certainly require an update to both OS X and iOS to work, and both are expected to receive major updates – OS X 10.12 andiOS 10 respectively – at WWDC.

Watch this space.

17/05/2016: Apple has released its latest update for OS X El Capitan – the predecessor to OS X 10.12 – as well as a redesign for iTunes in a separate update.

This release, the fifth since El Capitan’s release last September, is likely to be one of the last updates before the arrival of OS X 10.12.

Improvements in OS X 10.11.5 are mainly performance tweaks. Apple appears to be saving more significant changes for the next iteration of OS X, to be shown at WWDC next month.

Tweak in OS X 10.11.5 include fixing an issue where applying a configuration profile to set allow ‘SpotlightInternetResults’ to ‘False’ would cause Spotlight to use large amounts of CPU time, an issue where applying a configuration profile to set ‘ShutDownDisabledWhileLoggedIn’ to ‘True’ would have no effect and an issue where only a single NetBoot image would appear in the Startup Disk pane of System Preferences, even if multiple NetBoot images were configured on the server.

As well as performance tweaks for the main OS, Apple has also upgraded iTunes. Released seven months after the last update, iTunes 12.4 includes a redesigned interface that’s intended to be simpler to navigate and reintroduces the much-called-for sidebar.

This new iTunes update may also include safeguards to protect users from the alleged bug that has caused some users of iTunes and Apple Music to lose their entire music libraries.

More information on this OS X and iTunes update can be found onApple’s support page.

19/04/2016: Apple has officially announced that WWDC 2016 will be taking place from 13-17 June in San Francisco.

Mac OS X 10.12, the successor to 2015’s OS X 10.11 El Capitan, is expected to be announced during Tim Cook’s keynote on the first day of the event, alongside iOS 10, tvOS 10 and, maybe, WatchOS 3.

If he does announce the new operating system on 13 June, it will likely become available to users in mid-autumn and will be a free upgrade for those already using OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

macOS Sierra: name

It was widely rumoured beforehand, and those rumours proved accurate – Apple has changed the naming convention of its desktop operating system. Ditching the ‘OS X’ label, the company has instead reverted back to the name used in its first products: macOS.

This brings the desktop software back into line with the rest of Apple’s ‘xOS’ family, such as iOS, tvOS and watchOS. However, Apple is still naming the different iterations after areas of California, with the first edition of the new macOS labelled ‘macOS Sierra’.


macOS Sierra: features

MacOS Sierra introduces a raft of new features for desktop users, including the highly-rumoured inclusion of Siri support. Apple’s virtual assistant now lives in an icon in the app dock and can also be launched via keyboard shortcut.

As expected, Siri can perform all the functions available to iOS users, such as web searching and messaging. This will also include any functionality introduced by developers making use of the new open Siri SDK.

In addition, users can take advantage of Siri to perform complex file queries, including multiple criteria, all using conversational language.

There are also numerous productivity features introduced in macOS Sierra too. Macs now support automatic unlocking, using your Apple Watch to verify your identity and unlock your Mac.

The clipboard function is cross-device compatible, meaning that users can access data they’ve copied on any of their Apple devices. iCloud Drive also lets users access all their files from any of their Mac devices, including files stored on the desktop.

Finally, third-party apps and programs will now support browser-style tabs, allowing you to group multiple instances of the same program into one window.


macOS Sierra: price

For the past several years, the latest version of Mac OS X has been available as a free upgrade to users of the previous version of the operating system and the latest macOS release isn’t any different. The software update will be freely available for all Mac users when it launches to the general public in the Autumn.


macOS Sierra: release date

The developer preview of MacOS Sierra is available now, with a full rollout of the software coming to Mac owners in Autumn 2016. There will be a public beta in July.

[Source: It Pro]