James Marshall Head of Product What’s New With Mac OS Sierra? Ok, so OS X is no more and we now have the rebranded macOS on the cards instead. First impressions are: not much has really changed, we just have a suite of improvements based mainly around usability and the integration of Siri. With Windows 10 adding Cortana into the search as default this isn’t too surprising a move in fairness, and as I’m primarily a Windows user myself I very much doubt Siri will have any trouble improving upon what I can only describe as a bit of a lackluster initial attempt by Windows (although credit to them for getting there first). Windows were well ahead of the game years ago, with Clippy. The improvements to Siri have definitely been the main selling point of this year’s OS updates; with an obvious drive into encouraging us to go through Siri from everything from opening apps to booking dinner. In fairness this was probably about the right time for Apple to do so as the previously impressive Siri was starting to lose ground to the competition, and these improvements to Siri should put Apple right back on top again if they work as well as they promise. So what does that mean for the user? Firstly, I guess it means that there will be a lot more people in the office talking to their desktop (which in itself will be interesting), but cynicism aside, this could be at best the start of a practical intelligent assistant that could grow into AI; and at worst will a way of saving ourselves a couple of clicks when we want to search the web. The improvements to the photo galleries and maps are interesting but nothing particularly groundbreaking. Maps- in my opinion- has been playing catch up to Google since the split back in 2012 and i’ve only recently started using it again as a viable alternative. Image recognition is cool, I can see that being very useful for sorting out your family holiday snaps or for designers/photographers from a practical sense. But, as someone who’s already quite tidy and orderly with his files, it’s not something i’m particularly excited about personally. There is however one last big change to get excited about… That’s the Optimized Storage. Anyone out there who uses a macbook air, especially for development will know how quickly you run out of storage space when you’re creating local environments and databases, so to be able to have your Mac automatically clear itself to the cloud will be a huge help. The problem here of course is that if Apple decide in future they want to start charging more for iCloud space they will pretty much have you over a barrel, not to mention the complications arising over data protection if you’re a European having that data sent over to North Carolina for instance but that’s something for everyone can consider on a personal basis before they sign up to it. All in all, macOS Sierra looks to be a nice solid building block for future OS improvements; there’s nothing in there that’s particularly revolutionary this time around but there are some cool new features that will make your day to day computing that bit easier. Unless you’re a diehard Apple fan I wouldn’t be rushing to get the beta but come Autumn 2016 it will be a welcome update to El Capitan we can all look forward to.