macOS Sierra adds Siri, Apple Pay and increased cloud focus

Alex Kidman 14 June 2016


The next iteration of Apple’s Mac operating system will feature Apple’s virtual assistant, Apple Pay and a cloud-centric approach to documents and storage.

Apple has announced its next iteration of Mac OS X at its WWDC conference, although strictly speaking it’s not Mac OS X any more. As expected, Apple dropped the OS X moniker in favour of simply calling it macOS. The next version will be called macOS Sierra, following the current Apple naming strategy of using California place names.

Siri is the headline feature in terms of obviously new features in macOS Sierra, with the virtual assistant first seen on iOS being added to the macOS experience. Siri can be used via voice, with results that can be integrated into other Mac applications as needed. In the operating system space the obvious competitor is Microsoft’s Cortana, available on Windows 10 since its launch last year.

macOS Sierra will also integrate Apple Pay into the operating system, as long as you’ve got a iOS device or Apple Watch to authenticate with. Apple’s not expecting you to authenticate with a Mac, instead opting to bring the Apple Pay experience online for web shopping. Where a "Pay with Apple Pay" option appears in a web store, you’ll be prompted to authenticate via the TouchID feature on Apple iPhone devices, or via a paired Apple Watch.

Apple’s also pushing more heavily into the cloud with desktop synchronisation of files across iOS devices, as well as a universal clipboard across Apple devices. Storage on macOS devices will also be optimised in the cloud, with older files being uploaded to iCloud in order to enable more local space for new files. Apple also claims it has enhanced redundant file cleanup features in macOS Sierra.

In smaller feature improvements, macOS Sierra will allow for multi-windowed apps to be organised by tabs, even for third party apps. Apps already installed can use tabs without any software modifications, according to Apple.


A new Picture in Picture mode will work similar to the iOS experience, with a set PiP button to allow you to minimise out video from an app. Apple will also allow iOS devices to act as automatic unlocking devices for MacOS computers, a feature already present on Samsung’s GalaxyTabPro S.

macOS Sierra will be made available to developers today, with a public beta in July followed by a general release in (Australian) spring.

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