Earlier this week Apple had their third product announcement event in as many months. This week’s even focused on the Mac and provided more detail on the company’s move from standard Intel-based CPU chips to their own design, dubbed “Apple Silicon”. During the event Apple talked about impressive bumps in computing speed and, probably more noticeable to the average consumer, battery life. There was talk of some Mac models lasting nearly 20 hours on one charge.
Apple also announced the final release date of their latest version of macOS, dubbed “Big Sur”. Originally announced in June at WWDC, “Big Sur” is the first version of macOS to not be a “10-dot-something” since the year 2000. Big Sur incorporates new design elements that are somewhat more relatable to the iPhone and iPad users and is designed to run well on both traditional Macs with Intel CPUs and then new Macs running Apple Silicon.
As an iOS developer, I’ve been running macOS Big Sur for a couple of months. I jumped on the beta in mid August and it has been surprisingly rock solid for the entire experience, to the point that I forgot I was still running a beta. I jumped onto the “Gold Master” or release candidate earlier this week. It has maintained its rock solid status for both me and for my husband when I updated his MacBook Pro on official release day.
There’s plenty of reviews and guides and videos and the like around the details of the new operating system scattered all over the Internet, so I shan’t bore you with the intricacies of what’s changed, but I find the Big Sur experience to be very comfortable, pleasing to the eye, and a slightly faster version of the “same old, same old” I’ve been enjoying on my 2015 MacBook Pro since, well, 2015. Yes, it has a fresh look to it but it works and functions like it always has and that’s what we have, right? Advancements? Maybe a little. Revolutionary? Not at all. Evolutionary? Maybe a tad. Apple likes to play it safe with these things.
The thing is, I don’t find anything else out there to be as polished or as reliable as macOS, at least anything that offers some sort of flexibility for both the casual user and the technical diehard. On a recent Linux podcast they were celebrating the fact that one Linux desktop can now control Philips Hue lights from the computer, something we’ve been able to do for many years on a Mac. I like what Linux is trying to do, but it feels like it’s lagging behind. Google’s ChromeOS locks me into a web browser all the time, and Windows 10 is, well, pretty much the same Windows as Windows 2000. (Much like macOS is a lot like the Mac OS X released in 2001).
I watch “Star Trek” and see holograms and people waving their hands at projected desktops and the like and I wonder if we’re ever going to get there. Probably after I’m dead. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy what I have.