It’s Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference this week, and as expected, new features in the next macOS update, High Sierra, were revealed. I used to get excited with macOS updates. A new version would have big, exciting, new features. But macOS updates have become rather uninteresting. You wait a whole year for a some new bells and whistles.
Apple’s strategy to update macOS versions every year is perhaps too short a cycle to really see exciting improvements. This time around, we’ll get a new codec support, HEVC (H.265), so we can have better 4K video. There are some Safari web browser updates. You can expect a better Siri, better graphics, support for VR, and external GPU support.
Some, or even most, of those features could have simply been a minor incremental update within the current macOS version, no need for a major release milestone. For example, a Safari that blocks autoplay content fro autoplaying, that sounds like a ad-blocker plugin you could have installed yourself without needing a new Safari. Of course it’s nice that the feature is now built into Safari, but is Apple so running out of features to build that an ad-blocker can make it as one of the highlights of the next new macOS version?
Similarly, support of a new codec could have been easily added as part of the regular macOS software update. It’s like Apple and Adobe releasing updates to support new RAW file formats for cameras that just hit the market.
The only feature of slight interest to me is something under the hood. The new Apple File System (APFS) will officially become available on the new macOS High Sierra. APFS is modernised and optimised for solid state storage, offering such features as native encryption, protection from crashes, and instant file copies. Read and write operations are fine-tuned to boost system performance.
For upgraders, macOS High Sierra will provide non-destructive in-place conversion of existing HFS+ storage volumes to APFS.
That’s probably the highlight of macOS High Sierra, at least to me. I’m pretty sure some others would find this less than interesting. The annual macOS upgrade has pretty much become like a regular, routine, software update.
It’s not just macOS that has become this uninteresting. What prompted me to write this is another upgrade I did today, that of WordPress, which is now at version 4.8. Do you want to know what new features WordPress 4.8 has?
Let’s see, it has a new bunch of widgets. Image widget, video widget, audio widget and rich text widget. They’re all the same thing, about adding some kind of content to your website.
Oh, and there’s the new thing about updating hyperlinks.
That, it seems, is what WordPress 4.8 is all about. Alright, there are a couple of minor under-the-hood things too.
They might as well all be web-hosted software services. I suppose that’s where everyone is wanting to go, even Microsoft with their Windows.