A whole new look for the operating system, this time around, Apple drew heavily from its iOS to incorporate a familiar customizable translucent Control Notification Centers. The translucent theme is continued on the taller menu bar and more rounded windows, while larger pull-down menus and the ability to pin items allows for improved ease of use. Additionally, Apple has made it so the interface’s font color will change to reflect the tones of the desktop background and Dock buttons received an iOS-inspired redesigned.
On the apps end, Mail, Photos, Notes, iWork and Maps have all been reworked borrowing cues from the iOS apps for better functionality. Messages will also receive a new search feature (organizing results by links, photos and matching terms), inline replies, customizable icon, @-sign mentions for group chats, new photo-selection interface and message effects including Memoji stickers. Big Sur will also allow users to pin up to nine chats, syncing conversation lists across Messages in iOS and iPadOS. Finally, Apple also introduced a selection of new Catalyst apps and upgraded SwiftUI to make it easier for developers to create apps and add custom Mac features.
The macOS Big Sur will also introduce a big update to Safari, which according to Apple helps the browser load popular websites 50 percent faster than Chrome and is easier on battery. Features on the revamped browser include tab previews, new right-click tab options, customizable start page and built-in automatic webpage translation in seven languages. A dedicated extension store within the App Store will also help develop more third-party support for the browser in unison with new customizability options.
New privacy features found on Big Sur include a Privacy Report that notes cross-site trackers blocked over the last 30 days, a password-monitoring tool and a data storage breakdown that reveals what information has been collected by apps and if they are shared with third parties.
Paired with the unveiling of macOS Big Sur, Apple also officially announced its plans to move away from Intel processors and utilizing Apple silicon in MacBooks and Macs. With deep integration with the latest operating system, the chips already used in iPhones and iPads serve as Apple’s push to create powerful, energy-efficient processors. Outlining a Developer Transition Kit to update apps, the transition to Apple silicon will ensure that the company and third-party developers to more easily build apps that work between various devices.
It is expected that the first Apple silicon Mac and Macbooks should be arriving later this year and will stand as big blow to Intel’s business, as Apple is said to make up two to four percent (up to $3 billion USD) of the tech name’s annual sales.
For more tech news, Adobe recently announced the official end of Flash Player.