WWDC 2018: macOS Mojave Highlights & Release Dates

Apple announced macOS 10.14, the next major update to its Mac operating system, today during the WWDC 2018 Keynote. In doing so, the company has left the mountains behind and headed for the desert. Specifically, the desert at night. macOS Mojave's most visually striking new feature, called Dark Mode, is the ability to alter the user interface to adopt a night theme. Doing so envelopes the interface with a dark theme ideal for creative professionals and developers who prefer dark backgrounds to edit images and write code. It also appeals to users who want the reverse of the bright, light backgrounds and interface elements that the original OSX has been known for since its inception. Other exciting new updates include new ways to organize the Desktop, use FaceTime, and more.

macOS Mojave Release Date

The macOS 10.14 beta is available for developers today. The newest version of macOS will be available to the rest of us sometime in September or Octover 2018.

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Gallery View

The Finder has also been enhanced with new file viewing option called Gallery View. Gallery View improves on file preview by not only showing contents of documents as well as photos, but also places a thumbnail film strip along the bottom to enable quick perusal of documents and images to select and preview. This feature will no doubt get a lot of use once people discover its versatility and easy of navigation. In addition to Gallery View, the Finder has added editing tools in the Preview toolbar, making it as simple as a mouse click to mark up PDF documents and modify (crop, rotate, trim, etc.) images and even videos without having to open these files in a separate application. Preview also provides full metatdata on files being inspected, allowing users to know exactly what data is included in the photos being shared.

Screen Recording

Another new Mojave feature is the ability to not only screen capture but also screen record. It will be interesting to see the number of macOS tutorial videos that will populate YouTube once this feature becomes part of the operating system.

Stacks

Stacks is another notable new feature in Mojave. Think of Stacks as the way folder works on iOS, ported to the macOS desktop.  As many macOS users know, the desktop can quickly become cluttered with documents, photos, video clips and assorted icons that make finding and organizing files a challenge. Stacks allows users to gang together items based on the user's categorizations, just like sorting a real-world cluttered desk of papers and objects.

Continuity Features

One really nifty feature that iOS users will appreciate Continuity Camera. This new photo feature gives users the ability to immediately share a photo taken with the iPhone and have it appear as a paste object on the Mac. No longer do you have to perform the Airdrop dance to take a photo, Airdrop, accept, save, locate and act on the file.  It's like having your iPhone behave as a wireless still web cam!

Group FaceTime Calls

Facetime on the Mac will now support up to 32 simultaneous video participants in a call. While this feature is only available on Apple hardware, it will be interesting to see how much this new feature will impact other multi-user conference services like Microsoft Skype and Google Hangouts.

iOS Apps Come to Mac

iOS has further diffused into the macOS with the porting of iOS's News, Stocks, Home and Voice Memos applications. I'm personally really excited to try out the Home app, since there have been countless times I was working on my Mac wanting to activate HomeKit-enabled lights or blinds when my phone wasn't nearby. Even Siri on macOS is HomeKit-enabled! Apple ported these apps not only due to their popularity on iOS, but also as test cases to prove to developers that iOS apps can be ported to macOS. Apple is working hard at making this even easier with additional developer tools they plan on releasing next year. While few additional details have been shared yet about these tools, I anticipate that developers will simply be able to check which platforms to compile their Swift Xcode projects to (iOS, macOS, tvOS or watchOS). This will have the added benefit of vastly expanding the Mac App Store as developers discover how easy it will be to port their iOS apps to the Mac platform.

More

A number of other new features will be included with the Mojave upgrade, including improved privacy controls (obfuscation of browsing behavior data from advertisers and alerting you of social media site permissions), strong auto-password generation for website logins, a new Emoji button in Mac Mail, expanded maps, voices and additional language support and more. Mojave is no small incremental OS release, but a major leap forward toward unifying the Apple experience across hardware platforms while still giving the Mac its unique computing experience that Mac veterans have come to expect from Apple.  Mojave is expected to be released some time this fall.

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Mike Riley is a frequent contributor to several technical publications and specializes in emerging technologies and new development trends. Mike was previously employed by RR Donnelley as the company’s Chief Scientist, responsible for determining innovative technical approaches to improve the company’s internal and external content services. Mike also co-hosted Computer Connection, a technology enthusiast show broadcast on Tribune Media's CLTV.