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Apple renames OS X to macOS, adds Siri and auto unlock

Apple renames OS X to macOS, adds Siri and auto unlock


New features, new name

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Apple has announced the next version of OS X — and the first thing you need to know is that it has a brand-new name: macOS.

After 15 years as "OS X," Apple is changing its desktop operating system's name to macOS. With this update, all four of Apple's operating systems will share a common naming scheme. There's iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and now macOS. This particular iteration will be known as macOS.

Siri is finally here

Don't take this to mean that everything about OS X is changing. This is still the same OS X you know and (maybe) love, plus the requisite new features that come with every major update.

This year's biggest new feature is Siri. Five years after its introduction, Apple is finally bringing Siri to the Mac.

macOS Sierra at WWDC16 announcement photos


On macOS, Siri will work almost identically to how it works on iOS. By clicking on a Siri icon in the dock or menu bar, you'll be able to call it up to schedule reminders, send text messages, open apps, look up movie times and sports statistics, and so on, as it does on the iPhone and iPad. It can do more than that, too. Siri on the Mac will also be able to search through your files and can save searches to the Mac's Notification Center.

Two other useful new features are new parts of Continuity. If you're wearing an Apple Watch, your Mac will now be able to automatically unlock when you walk up to it. Apple is also adding a universal clipboard, which allows you to copy and paste between an iPhone and a Mac.

Apple is adding some neat iCloud tricks, too

Apple is also using iCloud to make file management a bit easier. First, it's adding a feature that'll let you sync your desktop and documents folder between multiple devices — you'll even be able to view those files from an iPhone or a PC. The more intriguing new iCloud feature has to do with freeing up storage. With Sierra, iCloud will be able to automatically remove old files from your Mac and store them in the cloud, leaving room for the new files you're actually working on. This could be extremely useful (especially with that tiny 128GB SSD Apple's still fond of), but we'll need to see exactly how much iCloud storage Apple decides to offer Mac owners to use this.

There are a smattering of other updates that Apple breezed over and some that it didn't even mention on stage. Those includes a Safari update that lets it use Apple Pay to make purchases on the web, so long as you have an iPhone nearby to authenticate. The addition of tabs to most built-in apps. Updates to Photos to make people and places easier to find. And a picture-in-picture mode that lets you float video in any corner of the screen.

Apple will release a public beta of Sierra this July. Its final release will come sometime this fall. The last version of macOS, OS X El Capitan, was released in September. That's around when Apple typically ships new versions of its desktop operating system, and that's likely what'll happen again this year.

See all of the Apple WWDC 2016 news right here!