Apple unveils macOS High Sierra with focus on 'refinement'

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Seriously, that's the name of the next macOS release, which will be finalized and shipping this fall as a free upgrade to owners of any Mac system that supported the Sierra release from past year. As is Apple's custom, High Sierra will be a free upgrade and will be available in the fall.

"When you go to buy something, suddenly everywhere you go on the web it follows you around", said Federighi. Apple also announced a few welcome tweaks to its core apps. There's also a new service to stop ads from tracking you across the web. For instance, there's now a persistent sidebar, plus a new view of your photos in chronological order with a filter for key words, to pick out specific photographs. It also helps with data security and reliability, providing crash protection and native encryption. But as Federighi stressed during his keynote, Safari isn't getting an ad blocker.

In Google's case, the fact that the company is one of the world's largest advertising businesses and Chrome is the leading browser by market share makes some publishers and advertisers nervous.

Apple said it will make a developer kit for "external graphics" available that includes a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure and an AMD RX 580 GPU. Apple says APFS will be the default file system shipping with MacOS 10.13 High Sierra and onwards, so any system upgrades to the latest version will result in a file system conversion.

We watch a lot of video on our Macs, and High Sierra is making the experience even better.

If you don't want your Mac or Macbook crashing at random times while you're working, we'd strongly recommend waiting until the final stable release of macOS 10.13 High Sierra later this year.

Editing has had a bump too, with new options to fine-tune colour and contrast levels in any image. Photos now supports external editors, so Photoshop, Pixelmator and other apps can launch directly within Photos, with edits saved back to the Photos library. Hardware-accelerated H.265/HEVC video will be integrated across the operating system and Apple's apps.

Mail, meanwhile, is said to require less space to store your emails, with Apple claiming a 35 percent reduction here, a split-view viewing mode for composing emails, and improvements to searches. Federighi insisted that Metal 2 offers up to ten times better draw call improvement than the original Metal API and runs "100 times" better than OpenGL. The idea is to give Mac owners who've always wanted and needed a bit more horsepower the extra juice required to work on graphically intensive VR and 3D applications and games. On the graphics side, Apple also announced Metal 2, the second version of its graphics-rendering framework.

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