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Say “hi” to MacOS High Sierra

At Apple‘s WWDC, the company unveiled a new version of OS that—as Snow Leopard once did for Leopard—emphasizes technical upgrades rather than adding a bevy of new features. In the same branding spirit, it will be called MacOS High Sierra (yes, the name got some laughs from the audience).

Software honcho Craig Federighi outlined what’s new in the update, which is arriving now as a developer beta and for consumers in the fall:  

• It’s faster; Federighi says it “smokes” Sierra on the same hardware.

• The Safari browser is getting new features such as “intelligent tracking prevention” for snoopy ads and the ability to block sites from autoplaying video.

• The Mail app will put important messages at the top (like Gmail’s Priority Inbox) and has a new split view that lets you compose a message while still seeing your inbox.

• Photos has a variety of improvements including a view of all the photos you’ve ever imported; the ability to filter your view by items such as keywords and media types; new editing options like selective color options; and round-tripping of edits from Photos to pro image editors and back again.

• Federighi stressed that much of the focus is on under-the-surface renovation, including support for the faster Apple File System, H.265 video, and the use of a Mac’s GPU for AI techniques such as machine learning. The operating system will also include “Metal for VR,” a technology that will permit VR authoring using the Unreal and Unity platforms.

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