When it came to software enhancements and breakthrough features, this year’s WWDC was a little more understated than previous iterations, but after a year of coronavirus restrictions, it’s understandable that Apple would focus on refining its existing offering than try to reinvent the wheel. Although iOS and iPadOS were the stars of the show at this year’s event, macOS was given some love, too. This year’s release - given the moniker Monterey - is packed with features designed to help users connect, work even smarter, and stay focused.
Speaking at the virtual conference, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, said: “macOS Monterey is packed with features that help Mac users get more done, connect with friends and family in amazing new ways, and work across Mac and iPad more seamlessly than ever before. We think customers are going to love browsing the web with Safari’s tab design, enjoying shared experiences with SharePlay in FaceTime, and using their Mac and devices together in new ways with Universal Control and AirPlay.”
PUTTING PRODUCTIVITY FIRST
The past year of remote working and government-imposed restrictions have meant that our MacBooks and Mac minis are more important than ever before. Apple started this year’s macOS update by talking about new features that are designed to help “users get more done, stay focused, and collaborate.” Perhaps the most notable was the announcement of a redesigned Safari web browser for the Mac, with new features that work across iPadOS and iOS, too. The release has reimagined the way we use tabs, with a tab bar that takes on the color of a web page and combines the tabs on the same line as the search and URL bar. A new feature called Tab Groups allows users to save and manage tabs - for example, if you’re working on a project, you can keep all of your tabs in one group and come back to them time and time again. Apple says that users will find Tab Groups useful for shopping, planning tips, and saving tabs you use every day for productivity, like Gmail, Slack, and YouTube. The most interesting thing about Tab Groups is that they sync across macOS, iOS, and iPadOS, so you can continue to work, research, or play wherever you are, on whatever device you’re on.
For the first time, Apple has ported its popular Siri Shortcuts feature from iOS to the Mac to allow users to automate everyday tasks and, in Apple’s words, “achieve peak productivity”. Users will be able to automate tasks that they need to complete, automatically sharing files, making animated GIFs, and much more, and power users can use the Shortcuts Editor on Mac to create their custom shortcuts for all of their favorite apps. Apple says that the previous iteration of Shortcuts, Automator, won’t be discontinued just yet, but users can easily import existing Automator workflows into Shortcuts and be up and running right away.
IMPROVING CORE MACOS APPS
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