We don’t know much about what Apple might add to the next version of macOS. We can’t even be sure of the name. But we can be confident that Apple will update macOS in 2019, here’s what we expect and when we expect to see it.
What will Apple call the next version of macOS
Continuity would suggest that Apple will call the next version of the Mac operating system macOS 10.15. However, there are a couple more options. It may feasibly decide that it’s time to move on from macOS TEN (or Mac OS X for the die-hards) all together and graduate to macOS 11. In fact, with the iPhone 11 potentially arriving in the autumn (iPhone XI I you are using Roman Numerals) it might be the right time to bring Apple’s devices into numerical alignment. Of course if it was to do that macOS 11 would be out in conjunction with iOS 13, so maybe not.
One thing we do know is that the next version of macOS should bring with it even more unification between iOS and macOS, with Apple already having confirmed that as of the 2019 macOS or iOS 13 it will be easier to port apps from one OS to the other. More on that below.
Perhaps, instead it’s time to ditch numbers all-together. Apple has for many years chosen a name to represent the Mac operating system. Initially generations of Mac OS X took names of big cats, Leopard, Jaguar, Lion. In recent years the names of choice were based on popular sites in California. We have this article that lists some potential California locations that the next macOS might be named for.
Some possibilities based on a March 2018 trademark filing include Sequoia, Sonoma and Ventura.
- Sequoia, after the national park that’s home to the largest trees in the world.
- Sonoma, in the heart of California’s winemaking region.
- Ventura, a costal city famous for surfing and windsurfing.
Picture shows the Mojave desert at night backdrop
When will Apple launch macOS 10.15
We expect to see Apple’s first demo of the new Mac operating system at WWDC in June 2019.
Then it is likely that the new software will be available to download in September or October 2019.
New features coming in macOS 10.15
We already know something about what’s coming in macOS 10.15 because Apple revealed details during WWDC 2018.
Unification of iOS and macOS apps
During Apple’s WWDC 2018 keynote the company announced plans to make it easier to port iOS apps to the Mac. The company gave developers a “sneak peek” of its strategy to give Mac developers a chance to “tap into” iOS.
While iOS and MacOS share common foundations, it’s not easy to port an iOS app to the Mac because the two user interfaces are somewhat different. “Porting an app from one to the other involves some work,” said Craig Federighi.
Apple has said it is looking at ways to adapt specific behaviours, for example, drag and drop, so that they can be translated to the other OS. In 2018 Apple ported across some of its own apps from iOS to Mac, and revealed that it was working on ways to make the transition between the two OSes smoother.
The plans to make it easier to port an app from iOS to the Mac was no big surprise. Back in January 2018 a report on Axios (by Ina Fried previously of Re/code and All Things Digital) claimed that you will be able to run iPad apps on macOS 10.14 when it launched in the autumn, as part of a secret Apple project.
However, around the same time Apple software chief Craig Federighi told employees at a company meeting in January 2018 that Apple would be focusing on security and performance improvements in macOS and iOS in 2018. As a result there were to be fewer major changes to the macOS than there have been in previous years, and hence it seems that the majority of work involved in getting iOS apps to run on the Mac was pushed to 2019.
Apple has clearly decided that it would be a mistake to try and prepare to launch such a feature in 2018, but the rumoured project to combine iPhone, iPad and Mac apps was real.
Bloomberg also wrote that Apple planed to combine iPhone, iPad and Mac apps as part of a secret project called ‘Marzipan’. According to Bloomberg’s sources in a January 2018 report: “Developers will be able to design a single application that works with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad depending on whether it’s running on the iPhone and iPad operating system or on Mac.”
Picture shows some of the iOS apps Apple bought to macOS in Mojave
By unifying the app development it was hoped that third-party Mac apps would be updated more frequently. Currently most development funding goes to iOS apps.
According to Bloomberg: “Apple plans to change that by giving people a way to use a single set of apps that work equally well across its family of devices: iPhones, iPads and Macs.”
So, what’s this mean? You won’t be able to run iOS on your Mac, or MacOS on your iPhone or iPad, but you should be able to run most of the apps you use on each device – as long as the developer ports them over. The process of porting apps across should be simplified, so developers will hopefully be willing to do so.
By unifying the app development it is hoped that third-party Mac apps will be more frequently updated. Currently most of the development funding seems to go to iOS apps.
But no merger of iOS and macOS…
This doesn’t mean we can expect a merger of iOS and MacOS. Back in March 2018. Apple CEO Tim Cook repeated his views that merging the two platforms would be a mistake.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Cook said: “We don’t believe in sort of watering down one for the other. Both [The Mac and iPad] are incredible. One of the reasons that both of them are incredible is because we pushed them to do what they do well. And if you begin to merge the two … you begin to make trade-offs and compromises.
“So maybe the company would be more efficient at the end of the day. But that’s not what it’s about. You know it’s about giving people things that they can then use to help them change the world or express their passion or express their creativity. So this merger thing that some folks are fixated on, I don’t think that’s what users want.”
Despite Apple saying that they won’t merge macOS and iOS, we have seen some great examples of how a merger of the operating systems could work, such as here. That report concedes that the new combined OS would simply need to support both x86 and ARM.
Incidentally, there are rumours that Apple will ditch Intel processors next year, moving to ARM. Ming-Chi Kuo of TF Securities predicts that in 2020 or 2021 Apple will start to use its own A-series processors in Macs. There may even be ‘evidence’ that a MacBook with an ARM processor is in the works:
Back in May 2018 there were reports that one of Apple’s manufacturing partners, Pegatron, was working on the company’s first ARM-based Mac, which 9to5Mac claimed has a “touchscreen, a sim card slot, GPS, compass, is water resistant and it also runs EFI”. So maybe a Mac that runs iOS isn’t as far off as we might think…
iOS features we could see in macOS 10.15
Over the years popular features of iOS have made their way to the Mac (and sometimes vice versa).
In the next version of macOS we would like to see features like the iOS Control Centre arrive on the Mac, giving access to System Preferences, Sleep, Shut Down from an easy to use and access menu.
An iOS style App Switcher could be a useful feature for macOS. Currently if you press Command and Tab together you will see the Mac App Switcher, which is similar to seeing the apps you have open by swiping up on, or double tapping the Home button on an iOS device. But unlike in iOS you don’t see a view of the actual page, just an icon. Alternatively Expose (F3) allows you to see thumbnails of everything you have open.
In addition, various iOS apps have made the transition to the Mac over the years, and we can expect to see that happen even more following Apple’s moves to make this an easier process for developers.
Mojave bought News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home to the Mac. These apps were the first ones Apple bought over to the Mac using the new processes it will be offering to developers. We’ll discuss some of the iOS apps we are hoping to come to the Mac below.
In the next update we’d love to see the TV app arrive on the Mac – especially since Apple is said to be soon to launch a new streaming movie and TV service.
Ahead of WWDC 2016, rumours suggested that iTunes would get a complete redesign alongside the Apple Music app for iOS, making it easier to use, according to people familiar with the matter.
Apple Music did get a makeover, but iTunes was left alone at WWDC 2016 and it still hasn’t really seen much attention nearly three years later. It’s a real shame because we think iTunes is in dire need of an overhaul.
There’s no getting away from the fact that iTunes is a big, bloated mess of an app. We’d love to see Apple break iTunes up into a series of smaller apps (as it is in iOS). Top of our list would be a dedicated Music app, with deep integration with Apple Music. But we’d also love to see separate Podcasts app. And as we said above, Apple should bring the TV app to the Mac and house movies and TV shows there.
The name iTunes is confusing because it encompasses more than music. We think that Apple has a lot up its sleeve in regards to iTunes, and we think it may be time for more than just a redesign but a complete rebrand. We think that the new iTunes will offer a music and movie subscription service so that customers will be able to stream content rather than buy or rent is as is the case now. More about Apple’s steaming service plans here.
Wouldn’t it be great if macOS had a proper Clock app, with all the functionality of the Clock app in iOS? The widget is fine, but a dedicated app with Alarm, Stopwatch and Timer functionality for macOS would come in handy.
Automation and Siri Shortcuts
Apple has spent a lot of time working on automation over the years. There are various automation tools for Mac, such as AppleScript and Automator. On the iPhone and iPad there is now the Shortcuts app, which isn’t exactly easy to use, but the fact that Siri on iOS can self-generate shortcuts based on common tasks you do is really handy and we’d love to see that on the Mac.
Say you do different tasks depending on the day of the week, you Mac could start up with the relevant apps open, and even suggest things you might want to do.
If you want to try out Shortcuts on your iPhone we have a guide here, or if you fancy a bit of automation on your Mac right now, read 10 ways to automate your Mac.
Health is a great app on iOS and Apple Watch, and we think it’d be nice to see it come across to macOS. Being able to keep an eye on your health stats from the desktop would help Health become a much more versatile tool.