Apple releases macOS 10.13 High Sierra, and it is gloriously boring
Today, Apple releases macOS 10.13 High Sierra to the public after a series of beta releases. It has some cool new aspects, but for the most part, its is a very boring release. Don't get me wrong, the new APFS file system and the ability to use an eGPU, for instance, are both very big deals, but let's be honest -- the average user probably won't care.
Overall, the apparent differences are few and far between -- mostly in applications such as Safari and Photos -- and you know what? That is a good thing. The fact that High Sierra is largely uneventful for end users just shows how mature and refined Apple's Unix-like operating system is. Heck, this is probably why the operating system barely got a new name, only going from Sierra to High Sierra.
"With macOS High Sierra, Mac users gain powerful new core storage, video and graphics technologies. A new file system ensures more efficient and reliable storage, and support for High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) brings stunning 4K video at lower file sizes. Metal 2 powers virtual reality content creation, faster performance and more. The Core ML developer framework makes it easy to create apps with powerful machine learning that predict, learn and become more intelligent. macOS High Sierra also includes a number of refinements to the apps Mac users enjoy everyday, including Photos and Safari," says Apple.
Craig Federighi, SVP of Software Engineering, Apple explains, "macOS High Sierra is an important update that makes the Mac more capable and responsive, while laying the foundation for future innovations. High Sierra introduces new technologies for VR, high-efficiency video streaming, advances in storage technology and more, while apps such as Photos, Safari, Mail and Notes are refined to give users even more reasons to love their Mac."
Apple shares the full changelog below.
Apple File System (APFS)
- APFS is a new, advanced storage architecture providing an extensible foundation to support new features and future storage technologies on the Mac.
- APFS brings support for the latest high-capacity storage devices and delivers enhanced performance, security and reliability.
- With APFS, common operations such as copying files and directories are nearly instantaneous.
- Data is protected from power outages and system crashes thanks to advanced data integrity features.
- APFS currently supports every Mac with all-flash internal storage — support for Fusion and HDD Mac systems will be available in a future update.
High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC)
- HEVC (H.265) is a new industry standard that enables extremely efficient compression, streaming and playback of video.
- HEVC enables users to watch 4K video files at full quality, while requiring 40 percent less storage space than the current H.264 standard.
- With HEVC, Apple is enabling high-quality 4K video streaming on networks where only HD streaming was previously possible.
- Hardware acceleration on the new iMac and MacBook Pro delivers incredibly fast and power-efficient HEVC encoding and playback.
- Developers like Adobe, Blackmagic Design, GoPro and more are joining Apple in adopting HEVC.
- Metal is Apple’s advanced graphics technology and the fastest, most efficient way to tap into GPU power on the Mac.
- Metal 2 supports next-generation experiences like machine learning used in speech recognition, natural language processing and computer vision.
- Metal 2 features a refined API and improved performance that’s helping developers, including Unity, Epic, Valve, Pixelmator and more, accelerate their future apps.
- With the combination of Thunderbolt 3 and Metal 2, the most demanding Mac users can now access powerful external GPUs.
- With Core ML, Apple brings the power of machine learning to all Apple developers, enabling the creation of entirely new kinds of apps.
- Core ML takes full advantage of Metal and Accelerate, delivering incredible power, speed and efficiency to machine learning operations such as computer vision, natural language, and support for convolutional and recurrent neural networks.
- All of the computation and processing driven through Core ML is done on-device in a way that respects customers’ data and privacy.
- Developers are already using Core ML to enhance apps like Pixelmator Pro, which uses machine learning to detect and understand various features within images and create intelligent editing solutions.
Virtual Reality Support
- macOS High Sierra adds support for VR content creation for the first time, enabling developers to create immersive gaming, 3D and VR content on the Mac.
- Leading VR companies are working with Apple to drive VR innovation on the Mac with features coming later this year.
- Valve is optimizing its SteamVR platform for macOS and enabling connection of the HTC Vive headset, while Unity and Epic are bringing their VR development tools to macOS.
- Later this year, Final Cut Pro X will add support for professional 360-degree VR workflows with the ability to import, edit and export 360-degree video on the Mac.
- An updated, always-on sidebar and new filtering and selection tools make photo organization quick and easy.
- A refreshed editing UI includes powerful new editing tools like Curves, for fine-tuning contrast, and Selective Color, for making adjustments to a specific color range.
- Live Photos can now be edited with fun effects, like Loop, Bounce and Long Exposure, and users can also choose a different key photo.
- Third-party editors like Photoshop, Pixelmator and other apps can be launched from Photos, with edits saved back to the Photos library.
- Support for third-party project extensions provides access to printing and publishing services from Shutterfly, WhiteWall, Wix, ifolor, Mimeo and Mpix from right within the app.
Additional app refinements:
- Safari stops media with audio from automatically playing in the browser, and Reader can automatically open articles in a clean, uncluttered format.
- Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari detects and eliminates cookies and other data used by advertisers for cross-site tracking, to help keep a user’s browsing private.
- Siri on the Mac responds with a more natural voice and learns music preferences, creates custom playlists and answers music trivia when using Apple Music.
- Touch Bar on MacBook Pro gets new Control Strip options plus an improved color picker and more video controls.
- Notes adds simple tables, allowing a user to type in cells, make edits and move rows and columns.
- Spotlight provides flight status information, including departure and arrival times, delays, gates, terminals and even a map of the flight path
Make no mistake, while macOS 10.3 High Sierra is a largely ho-hum upgrade, it is still the best version of Apple's desktop operating system ever. As long as your Mac is compatible, there is absolutely no reason to delay upgrading. The updates to the core apps like Safari, Notes, Mail, and Photos are really great, and best of all, the OS upgrade is free! Just head to the Mac App Store and grab it now.