Apple unveiled the next version of macOS, named “Big Sur.” The design of the OS features a number of refinements.
Apple has repeatedly said it has no intention of merging iOS and macOS, as each has a place in the company’s ecosystem. That doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from each other, however, and it’s apparent that many of the Mac’s new features are inspired by some of the best features of iOS.
Craig Federighi highlighted Apple’s intention of making its various platform feel more cohesive, making it easier for users to move from one device to another.
The updated interface includes icons that are more reminiscent of iOS, as well as a more colorful interface and increased transparency.
Mac Catalyst receives an upgrade in macOS Big Sur. Catalyst is the compatibility layer that makes it possible to port iOS and iPadOS apps to macOS
Developers will be able to optimize Catalyst apps to take full advantage of the Mac’s resolution. Apps will also have access to menu and keyboard APIs, as well as new controls, such as checkboxes and date pickers.
The new Maps and Messages are good examples of Catalyst apps.
Privacy will take center stage in Big Sur, making it much easier for users to see how websites attempt to track their data.
Web Extensions API will now make it easier to bring extension for other browsers over to Safari. There will be a new category in the Mac App Store to showcase Safari extensions.
Extensions will be managed in a way that preserves user privacy. Users will be able to manage what data an extension can access, as well as limitations on how long it can access that data.
Safari will also feature built-in translation. Safari will detect when it encounters a page that is not the same as the primary language on the computer and display a translate button. Clicking the button will translate the text, and even text off of the screen will dynamically translate as Safari scrolls down.
Next is Apple’s biggest announcement of the day: Custom Silicon