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macOS Big Sur Preview (apple.com)
277 points by theBashShell 23 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 382 comments



I was really hoping they'd take some time to address Catalina's glaring issues — its slowness, bugginess, just general sloppiness — and instead they did the opposite.

Honestly, every time Apple has done anything with the Mac the past couple of years, they've screwed it up. The infamous keyboards that they doubled-down and then tripled-down upon (I have personally had five keyboard replacements). The way Catalina sends the hash of every binary you run to Apple. The built-in Catalyst apps that look ugly and feel out-of-place. The Touch Bar which I still, years later, inadvertently activate several times a day (I've had to remove all the buttons on the right), which they addressed by making mandatory. The recurring bugs and kernel panics that have been lying around for years, unfixed.

I have the least confidence in Apple I've ever had. I'm afraid to run Big Sur, not because it changes things, but because it's Apple who are behind it.


It’s possible they will do both. Fixing bugs isn’t really keynote worthy, so hopefully there’s a ton of stability fixes behind the scenes.


It's possible they will do both, and I hope they do! I should add the disclaimer that I didn't actually expect them to talk about stability or Catalina's woes, for general corporate "avoid talking about things that make us look bad" reasons. Mentioning bug fixes inadvertently draws attention to the fact you added bugs; claiming increased stability highlights that the OS was once unstable. This is why Snow Leopard's "no new features" tagline was so memorable — it's so rare for a company to outright claim something like that.

But I have to ask myself: why this release? Why fix bugs in Big Sur, but not Catalina or Mojave? For example, the annoying bug where Mail randomly becomes the active application[1] has been floating around for years and still isn't fixed, and there are only two reasons for this: Apple is stretched too thin and can't spare the developers to work on bug fixes, or Apple doesn't care, and is simply willing to let the Mac languish, taking the reputation hit in favour of increased iPhone sales. The fact that they've overhauled the entire interface means it's not the first one — they do have enough resources to make large, sweeping changes to the OS. So I will be absolutely unsurprised if, ten months from now, I decide to upgrade to Big Sur on a whim, and a couple of minutes in, Mail pops up once more.

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23359820


It was keynote-worthy for Snow Leopard, with the infamous "0 new features" slide.


"0 new features" was marketing that seems to have worked quite well. I can't remember where, but I swear I remember hearing that later from people at Apple. The major thing is they didn't do a big UI refresh. In Snow Leopard they: finally rewrote Finder in Cocoa, released Quicktime X, shipped a 64bit kernel, released Grand Central Dispatch, released OpenCL. Plus a bunch of smaller updates and tweaks. They dropped included things like printer drivers (which now download on demand) which make the install size smaller.


That’s why I have hopes for them to come back and square up the Mac platform to where it should be for stability and usability. They could have been treating the whole platform as a beta for what they want to make of it after the move to their own silicon for many years now - perhaps even a decade. They’ve been well financed for as long. They also seem to have something like institutional anti-ADHD in so far as they can really only “nail” one product down well at a time.


Sure but Snow Leopard had serious bugs when it launched too. It was only in later dot releases that it got its reputation for stability.


I didn't switch to Mac until about halfway through Snow Leopard's lifespan. I'm aware of the big data loss bug—and that's serious for sure—but if you weren't one of the very unlucky few (relatively) to run into it, was 10.6.0 buggy in other ways?


>It’s possible they will do both.

Unlikely, given their recent track record. They'll just ignore the bugs in this release until the next big release like they've been doing for the past few versions.


I've also seen it reacted to very negatively when announced.


I don’t remember this but it’s credible. Can you dredge your any links from back then?


I wasn't specifically thinking about Apple, but a game I play. When I dug up the history on Reddit, it was a single troll commenting on every dev diary post.


The Touch Bar is honestly by least favorite aspect of anything Apple has done in recent memory.

My touch bar had dead pixels (twice), effectively wiping out half the function keys. And when it did work, it was hard to use.

I've been using my MBP as a desktop for the past 8+ months, and while it's slightly better experience, it still sucks that I'm stuck having to buy 3 USB adapters just to make it usable.


I will say I really like the lock button and the touch ID integration. I hate the lack of physical escape key (especially for vim); however, they are fixing that on many (most? all?) new models. Mostly I'm pretty meh about the touch bar. Not sure how much cost it's adding, but I'd probably rather they reduce the cost.


Have you considered remapping Caps Lock to Escape? There's an option for that in the Keyboard pane of System Preferences.


I've remapped Caps Lock to Control, which turned out to be very useful in various Remote Desktop and VirtualBox scenarios since it requires a left-Control key, which Mac laptop keyboards are missing.


FWIW, escape is actually slower (both in movement speed and in actual invokation) than ^[.

lit: `CTRL+[`

I know habits die hard, and "you're holding it wrong" is not a valid excuse- and I know that I also dislike massively not having an escape key.

But for vim specifically; there is an escape sequence and the escape key is an alternative method for that. (similar to how the arrows "work" but hjkl is the "real" way of moving).


This really depends on your keyboard layout. On mine (Canadian Multilingual, yes, I like my accents), [ is actually Alt+9. So Ctrl+[ becomes Ctrl-Alt-9 which is an unwieldy combination, to say the least. I like my Esc key where it is.


My beef is that ESC in macOS is the universal non-destructive dismiss button. I'm glad they went back to making it a physical key.


So you’re saying that pressing two keys is faster than pressing one key? In which universe??

Is eating 2 sandwiches also faster than eating one?

Are 2 electrical impulses also faster than 1?

I think not.


yes pressing two keys can be faster than pressing one, because you have two hands, pressing A+L is faster than pressing control+delete, due to locality.. your hands are likely closer to A+L than control and delete.

Locality is important, in fact it's the largest factor in determining speed of a hotkey's access.. "distance from home-row"[0] is a measurement that is consistently touted when referring to vim in particular.

Control+[ is significantly faster because your hands move independently. However I'm just now remembering that I always remapped my capslock to be an additional control, so it isn't necessarily universal that control is "as fast" since my "control" is actually on the homerow.. which is unusual.

As it happens, though I was wrong earlier and was confusing ^c and ^[

from `:h i_CTRL-C`

> CTRL-C: Quit insert mode, go back to Normal mode. Do not check for abbreviations. Does not trigger the InsertLeave autocommand event.

^[ is interpreted exactly the same as ESC; vim can't see a difference. (you can see this under `:h keycode` )

[0]: https://books.google.se/books?id=LA9QDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT201&lpg=P...


I know this answer is "buy something else to make your life eaiser" but hear me out - either a USB-C monitor, or a thunderbolt dock.

I got a USB-C monitor last time I upgraded (LG 27" 4K) and having a single cable to plug in, which not only carries the display signal, but also charges my MBP, AND carries the USB signal so that I can plug wired keyboard and anything else into the hub in the monitor still feels ridiculously futuristic to me.


Any recommendations on a TB3 dock? I recently searched for one, and none of the top rated ones can support a 16" MBP power requirements. One of the manufacturers even went as far as saying "How often do you really use your CPU/GPU at 100%?"[0]

Dell and HP have higher powered docks, but there are many conflicting reports on if it can deliver 96W to non-dell/hp laptops.

TB3/USB-C is a giant mess that is too confusing for even techies to reliably navigate.

[0] - https://www.caldigit.com/using-the-16-macbook-pro-with-the-c...


CalDigit TS3 Plus: I have a 16” MBP and two 4K monitors, keyboard and mouse attached to it.

Charging works fine even though I don’t think it pumps same power as PSU out.

I do a lot of Rust programming and use VMs too. Haven’t run into a situation where it runs out of juice while attached.


I can second this recommendation. Not cheap, but this dock has been excellent.


Looking at the link, if you peg the CPU and GPU to 100% even the charger that comes with the MBP will struggle.

Another 100w option is the Targus dock - https://us.targus.com/products/usb-c-universal-quad-4k-docki...


Personally I find the razer core x chroma really good

It’s a hub secondary, and an egpu primarily, but it works fine to power my

Personal 2019 mbp 13 (1.7 i7, 16gb)

Personal Lenovo s740

Work 2019 mbp 16 (2.8 i7, 16gb)


Yeah, sure, but at least on my Macbook Pro 16, Thunderbolt/USB-C monitors both instantly make the area near the touch bar hot enough so as to be uncomfortable to the touch.

If you're sharing a screen via video conference, you can easily hit 90c, with the CPU throttling hard the whole time.


That's because the second you plug an external monitor in (at all) it switches off the iGPU and spins up the dGPU on the old 15" and new 16" ... what you're feeling is the dGPU pumping out heat.


> The way Catalina sends the hash of every binary you run to Apple.

Wait, what?! What are you referring to here? I just updated to Catalina and I wasn't aware of this.


App notarization works by hashing binaries and sending said hashes to Apple. Here you go: https://lapcatsoftware.com/articles/catalina-executables.htm...


What the actual f*ck. Thanks for the link. Looks like I'll need Little Snitch...


If you don’t trust your kernel I don’t think some dinky application-layer firewall is going to save you.


How is this bad? They are likely sending a SHA-256 hash of the binary, not anything the binary itself to compare it to a bloom filter of known exploits. I'd expect any decent OS malware protection to be doing that.


I tried installing little snitch on catalina and it needed a network connection exactly for that.

I would like to know how to disable this and install little snitch. Maybe spctl or csrutil?


Little Snitch is good but what happens if the kernel can’t get a binary approved to run??

And people complained about Windows 10 telemetry.

Last time I run macOS. Time to return to Linux (Pop OS I think)


It was all the rage in news a few weeks ago, and it is true. Apple sends the hash of every script and executable you run as part of its notification process (even command line commands & scripts)


I'm still afraid to run Catalina. I have to use it on one laptop (me hardware) an it is slow and problematic. I've had actual system crashes. I can't remember the last time that happened pre Catalina


I can't remember the last time I've had a crash on Catalina. That being said, I did do a clean install when I upgraded out of fear of issues. Not sure if that had something to do with it.


I had a new computer pre installed with Catalina


You may want to run a hardware check, look around online for people with similar issues and hardware as you...or just take it to the Genius Bar. In my experience kernel panics in macOS in the past 10+ years has come from bad hardware, badly written kernel extension, or corrupt preferences (which a clean install addresses).

A few years ago I remember reading an article where Apple looked at crash metrics and worked very hard to address those. The criticism at the time was that this wouldn't catch slowdowns, hangs, or issues like "why aren't my Messages showing up?" which has been issues more recently.


>Honestly, every time Apple has done anything with the Mac the past couple of years, they've screwed it up.

Compared to what OS?

The latest Windows 10 update buggers up Storage Spaces and printing, hard on the heels of another Windows 10 Update that deleted the user's files.


Is it uncommon for folks to use a Linux desktop as their primary OS? I've been doing so for about 10 years and I've had no complaints. Whenever I need some specific software I boot to Windows or use Virtualbox. I also have a Macbook Pro 2015


I think even in the tech community it's uncommon...especially if you mainly use a laptop. Thankfully, laptop options have expanded quite a bit.

However, a few years ago a Steam update had potential to erase a bunch of data[1].

Is there a Linux option similar to Time Machine or Windows Backup (backing to a local network drive)? I've used things like rsync and restic. They work great for jobby-job like needs, but isn't something I could show a point-and-click user to manage themselves.

How soon did you install Linux on your Macbook Pro 2015? Which distro did you go with? When I get a new Mac I usually test out a few Linux distros and it can take years (if ever) to get decent support. Things like; wifi, palm rejection of trackpad, power management (decent battery optimizations or sleep/wake).

[1] https://www.pcworld.com/article/2871653/scary-steam-for-linu...


I've been using Debian GNU/Linux with KDE as my main Desktop from 1999 (21 years now): in home and work. As a "family administrator" my father use Linux in the Desktop too from about the same time. My 2 sisters and my brother also use it all the time. If they have any problems, they call me and I'll take care of it. I got married in 2004, and since then my wife and in-laws have also used Linux on the desktop as their only operating system.

My oldest daughter is 16 years old and has always used Linux at home, and she had no problem when Windows was found in some classes in the High School. I think it is possible, as long as you have someone to turn to if there are problems (I am that someone in my family).


Uncommon? Yes. Very few people run Linux as a their primary OS.


Not sure why this is downvoted, it’s objective truth. I’ll go one farther though and say that Linux sucks, and in fact we must admit that if we want it to ever be good. It requires constant investment by the community to remain competitive with the other big players, who are constantly reshaping and making advances we need to keep up with. This is spoken as a desktop Linux user.


Out of curiosity; if Linux sucks, why do you still choose it over other systems?


Open source software is great when it works, much better than proprietary software. I have a strong preference for open source; but I can't use Linux for anything serious because of how so many things are broken (not the kernel per se, so not "technically" Linux itself but the surrounding ecosystem). So, I use it as my hobby machine for whatever I can, because of dogfooding. The only way I will know what to fix, or even want to fix it, is by having to deal with it day after day.


Been using Linux for work and as my daily driver for 10+ years. Never had any problem that would make me consider jumping ships.

Professionally, I work with ultra-low latency systems for high frequency/algo trading and it would be impossible to achieve the level of tuning and performance that Linux offers on other OSes.

I'm interested in the types of issues that made the experience bad for you.


Here's a few...

* Even though there is tons of extra swap space, running too many apps at once causes the entire system to become unresponsive for ~20s at a time. Granted, I am using older hardware, but there should be some minimal amount of responsiveness allocated to indicate the system isn't just totally dead.

* Wifi GUI Gnome utility often ceases working and requires wifi to be turned off and on again. I got so fed up with this I just wrote a command to set Wifi to my credentials, and even then, I have to unplug/replug the wifi dongle frequently to get it to re-register with the system. On Arch Linux, this GUI utility doesn't even work at all. This has happened with multiple different makes of dongles.

* When I was using Ubuntu for work purposes (and Python / node / Docker stack), it would frequently run out of file descriptors. There was no solution other than to restart.

* Last night I started to encounter an issue where Ctrl-X would cut text successfully, but when I go to paste it, it will not be there. Possibly a bug with VSCode, not sure yet, but I haven't encountered it running VSCode on Mac at all.

* Something about programs being interrupted by context switches to other programs that are using large slices of CPU time leads to input being misinterpreted. If I am running a Rust compilation in one window, typing `hello` into an adjacent terminal window might show up as `hellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllo`. This happens in a wide variety of applications. I suspect the problem has to do with input library routines not receiving real time priority, or something like that. Weirdly enough, I saw the same issue on FreeBSD.


>re: WiFi gui

Don’t use gnome and in particular don’t use their network configuration tools. I’ve never seen those reliably work.

>re repeat under load

I’ve had this happen on OSX but I don’t think I’ve ever had it happen on Linux. Then again I almost exclusively type anything long in vim so maybe it’s a bug with the widget toolkit the app is using?


> Don’t use gnome

This kind of response, though, gets to the core of why desktop Linux isn't a super popular choice. The defaults should _work_. Most popular Linux distributions use GNOME by default. We should fix GNOME rather than say people should know they need to not use it. If using KDE is the obvious solution to the plurality of problems someone might encounter, why isn't KDE the default for most distros? I'm sure there are political reasons too, but those are reasons that matter to the end user just as much as technical ones. They are, in fact, indistinguishable from that perspective.

Even if the solution is KDE (or something else), a person who switched will find that KDE itself has issues as well, and when someone encounters them, they will complain and be told to not use KDE, use GNOME because it doesn't have that issue. We can't continuously flip flop stacks just because we encounter particular bugs.

> maybe it’s a bug with the widget toolkit the app is using?

I assume that's GTK, and it's possible. I see the bug in Firefox, Chrome, and GNOME's terminal, although strangely not VSCode.


Why would that surprise you, given the comment? The desire is to make it better, using it in spite of its issues is a way to do that. More users = more inertia to make it better, more resources for reporting issues, etc.

I personally use Linux all the time, but not on the desktop because it's just bad enough that I can't stand it (It's really not Linux, it's X and all its associated crap). I won't criticize those who do because they want a better OS though, that's a good thing.


> Why would that surprise you, given the comment?

Because people choose the least shitty solution for themselves whenever they can. So it doesn't make sense to torment yourself with an OS you don't like or cannot utilise to the extent that you'd like.


It's more about generativity. I have the capability to make this thing better, and I see vendor-imposed problems all the time with the proprietary solutions. Put two and two together and there's really only one responsible choice.


Yes, I gave up on Linux for anything desktop related about 15 years ago.

Still have an ASUS Netbook with Ubuntu LTS, which allows me to validate the "progress" of Desktop Linux on laptops.

Naturally I occasionally get to deal with it via VMs and server deployments, however for my choice of languages the OS hardly matters anyway.


Same. I’ve been on Pop OS on a System76 Darter for over a year. Very happy with the combination, and the price.


Unified keyboard shortcuts and I'd be all there. I've come kinda close-ish in Elementary, but it's still clunky enough that I can't commit full-time.


I used to use Linux as a daily driver until switching to macOS because I wanted to get stuff done instead of faffing around and learning edge cases for every app. I used to use KDE 3.5 which was near perfect and didn’t require learning new methods of using a computer for each app, but then KDE4 and GNOME3 got released which was like stepping backwards 20 years.

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head that unified interactions (and with the keyboard, not some dumb new hamburger menu for mouse users like the new gedit) are what’s required and missing for speedy daily use. I couldn’t articulate it until reading your comment, thanks.


>Is it uncommon for folks to use a Linux desktop as their primary OS?

Serious question? Otherwise I have to respond with LOL. Only people inside the tech bubble would think a Linux desktop was normal, and even inside the tech bubble you truly have to have a reason.

The largest install of Linux as a desktop for a company I've seen has been at a post house where all of the software ran on Linux. The users only used it to launch the specific app they needed. They had TDs (technical directors) to do all of the Linuxy type of stuff.


Welcome to this website. It's name is "Hacker News". The name, in case you didn't guess, comes from the main demographic that it targets/is driven by.


can't speak about the very recent updates, but windows have been consistent and adamant on keeping the backward compatibility. they still use reserved file names for io devices so that 30+ year old printers can still work, and you can still open a 2000s doc file in office 365. (I'm looking at you Apple, who made many of the 32 bit apps I loved useless)

relevant video: https://youtu.be/bC6tngl0PTI (Tom Scott: Why you can't use CON as filename in windows)


Actually you can use CON as a filename in Windows, you just have to use the right API. The command:

    type CON > "\\?\C:\CON"
will create a file named CON. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/fileio/naming... has some details about this.


Even the, now official, merge of UWP with Win32 is planned to take years as they don't want to introduced hard breaks for those that decided to bet on WinRT.


Why does it need to be compared to any OS? One of the reasons I switched to Mac was the OS X was far more stable than Windows. I still want a stable OS.


I have biweekly kernel panics on macOS... somewhere in the io sub system. Luckily vscode etc store their state


This hasn't been my experience at all. I'm running a hackintosh of all things on vanilla x86 hardware and I haven't had a kernel panic for months (and even then the only thing I can think of was when I was screwing with something that's supposed be behind the curtain). Importantly, I'm more and more resolute against installing Catalina.


I had maybe one or two kernel panics since OS 10.1 more than 15 years ago, even with hackintoshes or water damaged MacBooks, so that would be a real shame if that’s due to Catalina and it’s not a hardware problem.


I never reboot my laptop


Then you probably have a hardware defect somewhere


You have a hardware problem.


> OS X was far more stable than Windows.

I'm not sure that was ever true but certainly hasn't been true for over a decade. Neither OS is fully stable (how ever you might define that) and neither OS is a terrible unstable mess either.


I'm not sure that was ever true

I am. Absolutely sure. Stability was the reason I switched to Macintosh two decades ago. I've had to run Windows boxes for work at the same time, and with the exception of the most recent few years, Macs have been 100% more stable than Windows.


That is what I have been saying about the Mac.

It isn't the Mac is so good, it is the alternative is downright awful. From Design, UX, to even technical.


Compared to the previous (-ly used) macOS release, obviously. That's the only OS that matters in this context.


I would imagine that a lot of bugs will be squashed (albeit with new ones surely created) in the process of tweaking literally the entire codebase to run well on a new platform.


I’m still holding out on Mavericks b/c of Catalina problems. I’ve learned over the years to not be an early adopter of some critical things, like OS updates.


That's what point releases are for. If they're going to fix the things you're talking about, it'll be done as a point release to 10.15.


Which they really haven't done.

Mail still has a message loss bug. 5 point releases later...


"The way Catalina sends the hash of every binary you run to Apple."

<irony> They truly care about privacy... </irony>


The UI and UX seem to be getting worse on macOS with the “iOSification” of the OS. I thought Jony Ive’s exit would stop that trend. It’ll be interesting to read perspectives from John Gruber, M J Tsai, Marco Arment, etc.

I still haven’t upgraded from Mojave to Catalina because of serious bugs reported by other people (including data loss issues in Mail). I’ll see if Big Sur shows improvements (reported by others) and decide when to upgrade. I don’t even run beta versions of macOS point updates, which is in stark contrast to iOS betas, which have been of better quality (comparatively).

Edit: Apple seems to be ignoring long term Mac users (even the vocal ones) for quite sometime. It was poorer hardware quality and lack of hardware updates for several years. Now it’s software, where it’s been going about removing what makes native macOS experiences great. The Catalyst apps are not “native Mac apps” by any stretch of imagination.


Personally I’ve had zero issues upgrading to Catalina, it seems to perform better than Mojave for me, and more stable too.


I've had tons of graphics issues (lockups, glitches), and it seems i'm not alone [0][1].

[0] https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/constant-kernel-panics-...

[1] https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/strange-chrome-browser-...


I've recently switched jobs. At my previous role, the 15 inch retina 2016 MBP I was using never had issues on Catalina.

At this new role, the 2019 13inch retina MBP I was given seems to have one or two kernel panics a week on Catalina.

Also, I haven't noticed this other issue lately, but for a couple of months my laptop screen would flicker/distort and times for a moment or two; have not noticed that issue since setting up a home office with external monitor for obvious, current reasons.


I’ve a major 10.15 issue on two Macs where doing any kind of calculation in Spotlight maxes out all cores on the CPU for 10-15 minutes.


I just read about this here:

https://talk.tidbits.com/t/psa-catalina-spotlight-is-broken-...

It's one of the most recent reasons I have yet to update to Catalina.


Oh huh. I use that feature pretty often. I have my fan speeds ramped up to max 24/7 so I never noticed mds_stores going crazy but - yep there it goes.


isn't this really loud? Will it wear out your fans faster? What is this solving for you at cpu idle?


I just did it, cpu did ramp up, but dropped right back to normal as soon as I closed the calculator. odd.


Friend, it's time for a clean install. You should never have to do one, but macOS isn't yet iPadOS, and cruft happens.


Sorry but that’s absolutely rubbish. You shouldn’t have to wipe everything from a computer to have it usable, ever.


You shouldn’t have to wipe everything from a computer to have it usable, ever.

Thanks, I laughed a little at that.

People have been saying exactly that for as long as operating systems have been on disk. I was thinking just a few days ago that I must have installed OS/2 50 or 60 times in its day.

I can't calculate the number of weeks of my life I've wasted babysitting clean operating system installs.

You're right, it shouldn't happen. But we're decades away from that being the reality.


+1

The Catalina beta was a sh!tshow on my MacBook Pro, as was the first (upgraded) release. A fresh install made most of the issues go away.


It’s a new 16” that I set up new.


Wow, then my apologies for offering non-applicable advice. I'm crazy-curious what it could be.


Catalina was the primary motivator to move back to Linux for myself, and I don't regret it. If you care about things like this, you can configure Plasma Desktop with macOS features and shortcuts and end up feeling right at home.


Catalina was the straw that broke this camel's back as well. 15 years on a Mac and I'm back on Linux.


I've been umm-ing and ahh-ing about making the switch to a linux laptop full time.

Currently have my work desktop (linux + windows for gaming :D) at home for lockdown and a file share/media server (linux) hooked up to the tele. All seems to work. Even my firewire audio interface is more stable on my linux work desktop (it's not supported on Windows 10 > 1903 / OSX > 10.13).

The one thing that is keeping me switching is Apple Music w/ the iCloud Music Library syncing. Legit the only reason I haven't ditched my 10 year old macbook pro yet.


I was stuck with Google Music for a while until I ran a Jellyfin instance along with some Subsonic fork. I just VPN in and use the Android client or DSub when I want to listen to music, or use the web interface from my computer. This was another choice that I don't regret.


Currently contemplating the switch as well. Any recommendations about making the keyboard shortcuts as similar to macOS as possible? I'll be using my MBP, and after years of muscle memory, it'd be nice if I could continue using CMD as the primary modifier key for all things: clipboard, navigation, etc. I know you can configure everything, but maybe there's some easy patch or pre-configured plugin for KDE?


Take a look at my response[1] from a couple of weeks ago to a similar question on HN.

The tl;dr is to use Plasma Desktop, take advantage of its ability to create keyboard shortcuts for everything, and use Plasmoids to create a global menu and dock.

I didn't mention it in the post, but KDE Connect[2] works on most desktop environments and integrates with tablets, phones and other computers, and it's great.

There's sandbox info in the parent post[3], if you need a sandboxd replacement, too.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23473207

[2] https://kdeconnect.kde.org/

[3] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23471667


Thanks for these suggestions, I will be returning to linuxland after over a decade away.


No problem. Check out r/unixporn and r/kde on Reddit, too, there seems to be a trend of some users mimicking macOS flows on there.


It’s a little too early to see the effects of Jony Ive’s departure. He left less than a year ago. He probably had a decent role in designing Big Sur. Plus all the remaining designers were probably hired by Jony. I doubt we’ll see big change until a few years out.


Also didn't he leave to create his own design firm, whose biggest client is Apple? His influence will be all over their products for a while.


Yeah, the design is far too “bubbly” and “floaty” and really doesn’t fit what I’d want out of a desktop environment.


It seems very busy. I wonder what the average ago of a macbook user is.


My first thought was how childish it looked. Reminds me of a sanitized children's book somehow.


Your probably don't reember the 'lickable' Aqua interface of OS X 10.2. Personally, I loved the gum-drop buttons, but there were a lot of naysayers.


Yes, but I am giving them some benefits of the doubt as it is not in Dark Mode. Hoping it would like a little better in it.


Every app looks like the old iTunes, which had an appalling interface. I don’t understand this at all.


my immediate reaction to seeing that ui was

1. playdoh os

2. (more seriously) its pretty obvious they are making it look like ios so that catalyst and pure ios/ipad apps dont look too out of place

personaliy, i think its a bit sad, because it makes the desktop feel less professional and notice the larger fonts, spacing etc... seems like the ui could be used for touchscreens almost, instead of optimized for mouse/keyboard....


It seems a UI regression is a new feature for every OS these days. Very disappointing.


Yeah. Lack of keyboard support in some apps. Not being able to drag/drop certain icons. I’d have to see the interface to see if it’s good for fast discoverability of features, but I doubt it. It’s starting to look more like windows, but in a bad way.


The new Catalyst slide said “full keyboard support”. They’d be crazy not to add it.


Even iOS doesn't have full keyboard support.

Trying to delete (instead of backspace) brings up the emoji palette, even using Apple's own keyboards.


I got Windows Vista vibes from Big Sur's UI as I was scrolling through this terrible website.

Performance was horrible in Firefox on a MacBook Air (mid-2012), which has been dropped from support for this latest macOS.


I cam here after searching for "Big Sur vs Windows Vista" :)


I came here by searching "Big Sur vs. Windows Vista"


Catalina is the one and only macOS upgrade I regret doing. It has mostly been bug-free, but I was surprised how much software no longer works due to the 64-bit change.


What is not working for you? I did the analysis a while back and (I stopped doing kexts back when SIP hit) - I have like no 32bit apps worth keeping (I don't have to use legacy Photoshop).


The accounting software my accountant requires me to use for my business is 32-bit. Luckily I have an old iMac in the closet I use as a media server and for the accounting software.


At least you’re not having to do it with pen and paper I guess

That sounds like a right pain in the arse. I’d have replaced them if they’re not using updated software personally.


Easy to say. Not a sound decision with multiple decades of financial documents, both personal and for multiple businesses.


Pay the new accountant to deal with the old one haha

Anyway yeah it's not my business so it's not by business, nose un-poked-in


I always wondered why apple couldn't resolve this with a rosetta like interface or shim. Really, why couldn't it run forever?

Apple could do virtualization and run all the way back to macwrite or macdraw. Apple just doesn't get virtualization.


I haven't upgraded because my Fujitsu scanner only has 32 bit drivers. I'll have to come up with a kludge using SANE.


Hopefully they'll have an option to reduce the corner radius of windows & views... it looks a bit too bubbly for my taste. Brings back memories of the "candy" widgets of the first OSX release.

Otherwise, it actually looks okay to me.


I kinda agree with you on the "bubbly" look. However, I'm pretty excited about the Widgets stuff. I really like(d) the Widgets in OS X and even built one to show weather radar. Even though it's kinda silly and not super useful it was nice to be able to hit one button and get an image of any storms in my area. I was really bummed when they removed that functionality in Catalina and it's been one of the reasons I haven't updated yet.

However, it looks like this functionality is back, albeit in a different form. You have to do a bit more work to build it in Swift vs Javascript but I don't think that's too bad. Plus it might actually work on iOS as well.


> iOSification

Those square icons really got on my nerve for some strange reason. The previous design at least I know I am using a Mac.

Now I felt like I am using a glorified iOS. It feels more like iPadOS being ported to Mac.


I think it's the transparency that's looking a bit weird, especially if you disable this stuff yourself.


windows 8 anyone?


I’m surprised at all the negative takes. I thought it was refreshing, they’re reintroducing colours and icons, cleaning up and using a consistent design language across platforms, and introducing new, well tested convenience features.


Never underestimate the Internet's ability to see the worse in any Apple announcement.

Apple announces something you don't want? They are ignoring the vital issues and focusing only on dumb superficial things which just proves they are going down hill.

Apple announces something you do want? Should have happened years ago, and the fact that they've only gotten to it now just proves they are going down hill.


Apple unfairly gets a lot of hate, but please don't discount that the developer experience on MacOS has been pretty bad lately, and the lack of enterprise support means some folks are stuck on Apples slightly out of their use case, and with their fair share of problems.


I don't know, just Catalyst and Swift/UI alone are making my life as a developer much easier and nicer.


> ... the developer experience on MacOS has been pretty bad lately ...

Has it, though? I've never understood how people had a bad time on macOS when it came to development.

I'm developing Python, Go, Terraform, Ansible, and more, on macOS just fine. I've used Vim, gVim, VSCode, GoLand, and more without any issues. iTerm2 helps too.

What issues are you facing?


Should have happened years ago, and the fact that they've only gotten to it now just proves they are going down hill.

As they say, "Apple: Going out of business since 1984."


I think you misunderstand.

Changes for changes sake are negative for users. The last thing you want to do is change something that was working for users without giving them anything for it.

However a lot of actively developed software today changes because they want it to be "fresh and exciting". Basically because of desire to use changes to market it. But changing anything for that reason hurts usability.

Any change means the user will have to adapt to that change. You want to minimize the user having to adapt to anything. When you do make them adapt you need to give them clear value for that adapting.


Consistent design language across platforms is not a good thing if the design language is chosen based on the lowest common denominator.

Macs usually have large screens, and are driven by a pixel perfect input mechanism. Yet they will now be required to live with a design scheme that is largely designed for devices that would fit in a MacBook touchpad and the primary input for which is a fat finger.

Also, the icons seem to be completely stripped off colors, so I’m not sure where the reintroduction of colors is coming from. Unless you’re talking about the Vista Aero translucent sidebars that are only gonna make things harder to see.


> Macs usually have large screens, and are driven by a pixel perfect input mechanism

Good thing nothing about that is changing. macOS apps continue to be macOS apps.

> Also, the icons seem to be completely stripped off colors, so I'm not sure where the reintroduction of colors is coming from

Sidebar icons in macOS Catalina and a few releases prior don't have any colours. At all. Those got stripped out a long time ago, maybe as far back as Yosemite but don't quote me.

Now, sidebar icons can inherit an app's accent colour with edge cases designated by the developer or use the system-wide accent colour if the user has selected one.


My wife asked me what I thought of the new macOS look and my reply was "well I don't hate it" which I think is the best kind of response I can give based on a few screenshots and a short pre-made demo.

There is a lot I liked the look of and a few things I didn't like so much but might look better on a real system. Just have to wait and see what it is like to actually use.

From what we saw I don't hate it though. I think it looks quite clean, good spacing (possible touch Macs in the pipeline?), consistent, new icons look good, etc.

I think this really was a historic day as Tim said. After almost twenty years OS X is over. I do kind of wish they had jumped to macOS 14 to align version numbers with iOS and its children.


I completely agree. Previous versions had newer Apple UI design elements (e.g. the App Store) and also the elements of older macOS versions (e.g. the Dock, comparing it to the one on the iPad). It was just a big jumble, and they're finally unifying it.


Yeah, the UI refresh they did a few years ago (Yosemite I think?) always felt like a halfway-done, superficial coat of paint to try and eke out some brand unity. Big Sur (I'll never be able to say that with a straight face) seems to be a genuine re-think. It says to me, "Apple isn't just doing the minimum effort to drag the Mac along, they actually care about it long-term". And while lots of things were clearly taken straight from iOS, I didn't see anything that felt like a real downgrade in terms of power user features or information density. I'm actually kind of excited about the control panel drop-down.


I especially liked the extension of complications in Apple Watch. The ability for developers to define the 'home screen' appearance of the watch is an important advancement that enables users to control their own technological identity. The Watch is the most important place for consumers to define their own 'GUI brand'.


When you put it that way, I want to throw my Apple Watch in a river. Technological identity? Consumer defined 'GUI brand'?

Yikes.


You'd throw your watch in the river because someone used a few buzzwords?

Apple harps on every year about how their Apple Watch is the most personal device they sell. Personal. Intimate. Love. Magical.

Yet, we still buy the things because we find our own sense of value in it.

Clearly, we don't pay much attention to buzzwords in the marketing. I don't know why you'd start now with some random comment on HN.


Sadly the only major change there is the ability to use SwiftUI for complications.


> using a consistent design language across platforms

Which means that design conventions that happened to be well-optimized for the platform on which they arose are going to suffer.

But don't worry! All the lost productivity will surely be worth the sacrifice if it only provides the one thing that matters above everything when it comes to product and UX decisions: whether it can be used as a positive bullet point on resumes while they're managing up.


> cleaning up and using a consistent design language across platforms

This is not a positive. A laptop is not a big iPhone and shouldn't use the same design language. One of the worst thing about Windows 10 is its use of huge, touch-friendly interfaces in an OS most commonly used with a keyboard and mouse. MacOS appears to be headed the same way (and it doesn't even support touch screens).


Maybe I missed it, but did they say they're requiring Mac apps to start standardizing design?

If not, then I see no reason why the default OS apps that come pre-installed shouldn't look and feel the same.


> then I see no reason why the default OS apps that come pre-installed shouldn't look and feel the same.

The same as each other, or the same as their mobile touchscreen counterparts?


I mean I think they should look the same. If you look at iOS and macOS apps side they should look like they belong to the same family of products and use the same design language.

But they should behave different to take advantage of different devices strengths and limitations. Spotify does a pretty okay job at this.


I'd say both. If I'm a user who's all in on the Apple ecosystem, it seems like a nice plus that the out of the box apps can be expected to look similar and work similarly, whether I'm on my phone or my laptop.

There's certainly ways to screw that up, I won't deny that. But I think it's an inherently good direction to aim for. In my mind, that means (1) making sure that functionality is synced whenever possible (the lack of iMessage functionality on macOS after it was enhanced on iOS has bugged me for years), and (2) matching the look and feel to make the macOS version (or iOS version) feel familiar the first time you use the app if you've previously used the alternate platform's equivalent.


Fortunately, macOS isn't being made to look like a big iPhone. Nothing in macOS is optimised for touch — all touch targets remain roughly the same size as they've always been with some things being a little bigger, but only for improving visual clarity, not for being easier to touch.

Nothing about macOS is being made touch-friendly. Nothing about macOS is being made into an iPhone.

If anything, this release makes it easier for iPad apps to become non-touch-friendly by making it easier to bring iPad apps to Catalyst without having to do complete restylings to match other macOS apps.

That's the benefit of consistent design language. iPad apps become better macOS apps, not the other way around.

The Mac is still a Mac. Desktops are desktops. Laptops are laptops. Separately, in iPad land, tablets are tablets. Nothing about the new design language changes that.


Per Fitz's Law, touch-friendly is mouse friendly. The larger the click target the faster and easier it is to click, especially as the distance between the current mouse position and the target increases. It's a huge mouse accessibility win to design touch-first target sizes, and there's decades of UX research on that topic. Just because the mouse is precise enough to do it doesn't mean that users should have to "360 no-scope" all of their apps every day.


> Per Fitz's Law, touch-friendly is mouse friendly.

That's only true to an extent. It stops being true when the low-density UI re-design forces the user to take more actions to accomplish the same task. If I have to dig through a deeper menu structure, or flip back an forth between pages instead of having the information all on-screen at once, that change is touch-friendly but hostile to desktop and many laptop users.


First of all, if a UI is badly structured and needs a lot of flipping back and forth that isn't touch-friendly either. Good UX design should be about putting everything the user needs at the user's fingertip (literally so in touch-friendly, but figuratively so for mouse and keyboard).

Particularly on that subject, density is mostly orthogonal to touch-friendly outside of touch target size, and that's something that Microsoft has been very honest about as a series of lessons learned between Windows 8 and Windows 10.

Keep in mind a lot of the density changes in Windows 8 weren't about touch-friendliness, they were about good typography and reading friendly white space. They tried to optimize the basic app templates for comfortable reading patterns as if every app needed to be a well typeset newspaper with good strong margins between columns/articles. On the surface it was a lot of good ideas individually, but the criticisms were valid that it led to some very sparse designs by default and that they made overriding the defaults a little too hard, the defaults a little too hand-holding.

For reading-only "information" the density of an app can be the same, touch-friendly or not. It's the control targets that should be adjusted just that little bit bigger. The difference in size between a past mouse-only target and touch-friendly is a lot smaller than people think, people are fairly comfortable at touching some very small targets (have you seen how dense most smartphone apps are today?). Even there too, Microsoft found out and admitted that user comfort for touch-friendly allows for far more density of touch targets than they at first recommended in Windows 8. (There's some interesting debate if those changes in UX Research Study results over the lifetime of Windows 8 and early Windows 10 testing were due to increased user familiarity with touch surfaces over those intervening years or some interesting unanticipated bias in the earlier studies.)

The density of the UI should be a factor of the user's ability to focus on said UI more than a "touch-friendly" concern. Even after Microsoft greatly adjusted their design guidelines on density in Windows 10 they keep a lot of their own apps UI at low density not because they "have to" for touch-friendly, but for various concerns like user friendliness, good typography, and analysis paralysis when the user is confronted with too many choices at once.


Larger targets also increase the distance between the current mouse position and the target for everything but the closest item.


> in an OS most commonly used with a keyboard and mouse

In a business setting, sure, but I think you underestimate how much consumers are using touchscreens nowadays, even on their laptops.


No! You’re supposed to grumble about how bad everything is and how Apple is losing it’s touch. Don’t you know the WWDC spiel?


Just for once, for one time in my life, I'd like to come to an HN article about Apple and not have the first few hundred comments be "sigh time to buy a Thinkpad. Let's all argue our favourite version of Linux". Just once.


Finding the negatives is basically a hobby for a lot of the hot takers.


People on this site always comment negatively on literally anything related to UI except if it looks like it was made in the 90s. Absolutely zero sense of perspective or open-mindedness.


I don't think this is a very charitable take. Many people, myself included, consider change for the sake of change a cost, not a benefit.

The less I think about my keyboard layout or system UI widgets the better. I can see why someone might like the novelty of those changing but for me they are just a means to an end. Any time I spend hunting around menus that have changed or fiddling with a novel keyboard means less time for things that I actually care about.


I'll concede that it's not charitable but if anything I think UI needs to change more, and in ways which aren't superficial like switching icons. Compare this to Mac OS 9, is it really that different? Have we really not figured out anything better? For instance, we should not have to search through menus to find what we want. Every app should support something like Blender's operator search (like the Help > Search feature but generalized to every command, not just the menu bar). Instead of discussing stuff that matter people complain about the appearance of things.


That's an indication that change for change's sake is neither needed nor desired.


I don't consider design language across platforms a positive nessisarly. I want my laptop to be a laptop and tablet to be a tablet. They don't need to share UI. That's why windows 8 was such a disaster.


Nope. People on HN seem not to understand that a "consistent design language" is something more complex than "do exactly the same thing on every platform."

The reason Windows 8 was a disaster was because Microsoft suffered from the same misconception.


"Consistent design language" doesn't mean "behave exactly the same".

That's exactly what Catalyst is for — to take iPad apps and make them good macOS citizens. Is that not exactly what you want?

A consistent design language makes it easier for iPadOS apps to come to macOS via Catalyst without having to be almost completely restyled whilst also preserving everything makes the Mac a Mac.

Your laptop remains a laptop. Your desktop remains a desktop. Ported apps respect the form factor, not force it to become a tablet.


In general I think all these are positives, but these two worry me:

> "using a consistent design language across platforms"

Apple famously refrained from doing this at first, because for platforms with fundamentally different form factors, use cases and input methods it doesn't make much sense.

I do appreciate some parts of the redesign, but others like reducing the information density make things look nicer but make them less functional. We get it, whitespace is good to let things "breathe". Nontheless:

- I use those buttons that seem to be MIA in the screenshots of the new Finder though (to switch between views, the sort menu, the cog icon with extra actions). Will I have to change my workflow?

- I use a lot of items in the macOS sidebar. In the current Finder, my sidebar can show 12.5 items without scrolling. In the screenshots, it's showing 9. Am I going to have alter my workflow here too?

All of these seem like minor things, but they add up. There's a reason some people still download and learn Vim— the 5 seconds it can save you from each time you reach out to a mouse adds up. It might just be 5 seconds, but you do it _all the time_.

Like vim, this doesn't matter for many people, but for people who use an OS mostly for work, not for excitement or leisure, it can be worrying and annoying.

> "introducing new, well tested convenience features."

My worry here is that they might be popular in iOS, but that doesn't mean they are well-tested per se. Launchpad was a "well-tested" iOS feature (the home screen), but when it first arrived in Lion, it was terrible:

1. It was very buggy, as new software tends to be.

2. It was poorly thought out for the Mac.

- It didn't have a search bar, which makes sense in iOS but not in macOS.

- The only way to edit it was with click and hold, which makes sense on touch devices but is unseen in pointer devices.

- It uses the whole screen, which makes sense in single-app environments but not really on large screens with multiple apps are used. Coincidentally, Apple has realized full-screen experiences are dreadful when attempting to multi-task and changed some of these (Siri, calls on iPad) on the latest iOS.

3. It was in general unnecessary. macOS already has a bunch of ways to open apps: the Finder, Spotlight, the Dock, for some users, the Desktop. This is subjective though.

There's a lot of power-user tidbits on the way some of macOS feature's are implemented right now. You can option-click the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Sound task bar items to bring up extra options or information. People like me who constantly need to read the IP address or access the Bluetooth debug menu rely on these little power features for our workflows. I sure hope Apple hasn't gotten rid of these with the introduction of the Control Center.

[1]: https://photos5.appleinsider.com/gallery/36343-67506-000-lea...


> - I use those buttons that seem to be MIA in the screen of the new Finder though (to switch between views, the sort menu, the cog icon with extra actions). Will I have to change my workflow?

No, because those icons are all still there. The cog button has become a … button, but it's the same menu.

> - I use a lot of items in the macOS sidebar. In the current Finder, my sidebar can show 12.5 items without scrolling. In the screenshots, it's showing 9. Am I going to have to alter my workflow here too?

No, just use smaller sidebar icons. System Preferences -> General.

> 3. It was in general unnecessary.

Depends what you consider necessary. I really think Apple wants to start pushing SwiftUI and Catalyst apps.

One issue with both of these is that apps written in either make completely different looking apps for Catalina and iOS 13.

In Big Sur and iOS 14, they'll look less different, which may help adoption. A Catalyst app with no specific changes made to be a good macOS citizen looks naff on Catalina but looks acceptable on Big Sur — so this helps lower the barrier for iPadOS developers to adopt proper macOS design language.

> I sure hope Apple hasn't gotten rid of these with the introduction of the Control Center

The Control Center demo showed dragging those items out to the menu bar so that they could work just like they did before.


I appreciate aesthetic beauty of rooms, buildings, and interfaces, but to me what has jumped the shark is the entire conversation about icons, fonts, and toolbars.

No one can explain why the icons, fonts, and toolbars from 3 years ago aren't good enough anymore. No one can explain why we need constant "refreshers".

Let's say you have a new microwave. Every microwave's controls are a little different, but you know generally the conventions of their limited interfaces. There are presets; separate non-microwave functions like timers; maybe a light and a fan control.

The first few times you use it, it's a little weird. But you use the same one for like 5-10 years at a time. It becomes effortless, second nature. Food in, door shoot, beep-boop-beep by muscle-memory. Your food is ready.

Imagine someone snuck into your home and rearranged the buttons, and changed some underlying functions. Now, when the timer is done, you don't hit the timer button to clear the display--you hold the cancel/stop button that also turns off the microwave. They think it's more logical that way.

It doesn't matter, but it's frustrating. "Why was that necessary?", you might ask yourself. Neither way is fundamentally more or less logical. It's just different.

It's not that changes are bad, but semi-annual changes for utilitarian things seem excessive. You accept a certain amount of change when you replace your microwave, or your car, or your computer. But not when you take your car to be tuned up. They don't replace the break pads, and then change the location of the stereo's volume knob.

I think he philosophy of heavy handed redesign was useful in bringing computer interfaces to up to new hardware specs early on in tech, but we're reaching a point where they should be slowed down in favor of utility. The claim that it is design in the name of usability is no longer true. Call it what it is. It is merely seasonal fashion and nothing more. Some fashions are timeless. We should find them and stick with them as defaults that we are very hesitant to change.

Consistency can facilitate clean design, allowing you to conceal and expose complexity by strongly established conventions, helping to achieve balance on the beauty-utility continuum.



I think a lot of UI changes are for the sake of change. The arguments I've heard for the recent font changes and some of the UI changes are a critical mass of retina screens. They've also added other screen/monitor tech like night-shift and true tone and have changed font smoothing.

They're also slowing experimenting and merging macOS and iOS UI tooling, which necessitates a change on both parts.

Personally, I also wish they would slow down or stop UI changes.


IMHO Apple's design jumped the shark a long time ago. Even apart from the aesthetics of the "flat" look, which I like about as much as fingernails on a chalkboard, Apple has completely abandoned the principles that made the original Mac great: ease of use and discoverability. Once upon a time it was easy to tell where the affordances were, what you could click on, editable vs non-editable text. Nowadays everything looks the same. The only way to tell whether something is clickable is to try to click on it. The only way you can tell whether something is editable is to try to edit it. And the UI is lousy with hidden features that only show up when you hover over them, with absolutely no indication of where they are until you happen to get lucky and move the mouse over one of them. Easter eggs lose their charm when you have to find one in order to accomplish an actual task.


Yeah, and they had the audacity to highlight this in the overview today like it’s a good thing: how controls will now get out of your way when not using them (that was a problem that needed solving??). Now we can look forward to things on macOS looking even less clickable because Apple has spent valuable engineering hours “helpfully” keeping controls “out of our way”.


Unfortunately you can replace Apple with Microsoft here and say the exact same thing.


Indeed. :-(

No one makes a computer that Just Works any more. It's a real problem.


> ease of use and discoverability

Good point. It’s like post-Jobs Apple has forgotten that design is not how it looks, but how it works.

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer – that the designers are handed this box and told, “Make it look good!” That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” - Steve Jobs

https://quotesondesign.com/steve-jobs/


Based on how rough the Jira app is on Catalina, if MacOS is going to see more of that then I think I've had my day with Apple.


To be fair to Apple, the JIRA app is the single worst Mac app I've ever used, by quite a long shot. And their web app also has atrocious performance (so much so that it was the deciding factor in a recent decision to move away from JIRA at $DAYJOB).

The Mac App Store is probably a fairer comparison.


Jira truly takes the cake for world's most over engineered website.

I wonder how much of the world's coal and gas has been consumed by browsers struggling under the load of Jira.


I still laugh about how it takes over 10 seconds to render a dropdown box so I can move a ticket from 'in progress' to 'done'. It's often one of the last things to become functional on the page.


I'm mixed on the design.

I really, really dislike the way macOS has looked since Yosemite, and compared to that, I think this one is an improvement overall. The icons have more depth, and there's far more use of color across the UI.

But, it also looks extremely mobile-inspired—I suspect Apple's primary goal was to make iOS ports and apps look less out of place. That's a fine objective, but it also means they weren't designing for desktop and laptops specifically, and it shows. For instance, most of the apps lack title bars, and I'm not sure where I'd click to drag windows as a result.


I think the lack of title bars is an issue now. I've found it annoys me most on my web browser, when I have lots of tabs open there is one small section between the 3 dots to minimize/close and the first tab that I can use to move the window.

My guess is that they expect most people to use the application full screen and not to be moving it around. I've got a large monitor and I don't keep my windows full screened so this annoys me.


If done well, then contrast will replace color for many things (e.g. menu bars) as a separating function.

If done poorly, then it will look horrible because they got the contrast wrong.

High contrast should be used where you want someone to pay attention (like an "exit only" market on a US freeway exit). Low contrast where you want something to fade into the background (like a mile marker).

The problem with "flat" designs is that it seems hard to get it done well. Just think how long it took the industry to get the "ok" & "cancel" buttons to highlight in a consistent way for users.


I’d say at least several times per month I either accidentally nuke a background window tab when a close button "X" materialized at the last second where it looked like I could just move the thing, and the rest of the time I simply catch myself a fraction of a second before doing it.

Just-in-time UI combined with a complete lack of borders and affordances is the stupidest trend and it needs to end.


To add to that, the interactions they showed during the demo appear to be by finger, not mouse. They are treating it as iPad first, bubbling into laptops/desktops.

Apple took off with the .com boom and became a staple of every startup. But since the iPhone they've shifted to being a consumer focused company, and I don't see any reason why they would dedicate too much resources to improving their products for developers/designers.

It's pretty sad because they are still the best option. But people are not happy with them, and it's been getting worse over time. I really think Microsoft has an opportunity to cater to power users and release a really beautiful OS. But not Windows - would have to be something new


I'm pretty sure the goal isn't to make iOS apps look less out of place, rather it's to pave the way for a macOS/iPadOS merge after the 2 year ARM transition is done. Most of the UI changes across the OSes looked to be in service of stitching up the UI inconsistencies.


I’ve had that mental block the whole time I’ve used Macs (10yrs+). The “answer” is easier to work with than you’d think: most of the toolbar drags the window around, not just the title bar.


Yes—but the title-bar/toolbar combination used to look visually unified—a deeper gray distinct from the content for the window. That seems to be gone in Big Sur.


I'm not sure why I continue to look forward to new Mac OS announcements every year when Apple continues to focus on consumer apps/features and not pro/developer features. Literally nothing in that preview page excites me as someone that uses Mac OS mainly for developing software. I wish they would use WWDC to announce developer and pro features and not consumer OS features.

I don't really care for the UI changes, but I spend such little time in the UI that I guess it doesn't matter much. The iOS-ification of Mac OS is an unfortunate change. I don't use any of the built-in apps with the exception of terminal.app and finder. Meh.

Most interesting: This appears to be the end of "OS X" as version was listed as "11.0" in the keynote.

Will Big Sur and Mac OS (beyond OS X) continue to be certified UNIX?


> I'm not sure why I continue to look forward to new Mac OS announcements every year when Apple continues to focus on consumer apps/features and not pro/developer features.

The only session the press cares about is the keynote, so geeky stuff hasn't been keynote fodder for several years. Everything but the WWDC keynote will be for a developer audience.


> Most interesting: This appears to be the end of "OS X" as version was listed as "11.0" in the keynote.

"Mac OS X" was dropped for macOS in 2016.

https://fortune.com/2016/06/13/apple-mac-os-sierra/


Right, but the version number on the last few releases was still "10.x"


I think developers should always start on this page instead of the keynote: https://developer.apple.com/macos/

EDIT: Also meant to point out that every year they have a theme - this year is apparently all interface (as they've probably spent all there time getting ARM working smoothly, and want to minimize the plumbing issues).


Thanks for the link.


You're welcome. I learned this a couple years ago. WWDC keynote is a high level overview of new features for everyone, and you have to dig deeper for the stuff we're really interested in. I think this is a sign that their ecosystem has matured, and the developer aspects aren't as headline worthy as Swift, Metal, Carbon, etc.

I personally think the Platforms State of the Union should be quite interesting today (starts in about 20 minutes) and will be much more insightful.


Take a look at the State of the Union–it's in less than an hour. It's the developer-focused keynote.


Tbh it is less developer focused than I expected


When I went to download it it was 10.16. This might turn out to be 10.16 for Intel and 11.0 for ARM.


As a developer I cannot care less about UNIX, I see lots of interesting features.


I wonder why keep the naming scheme if numbering is changed.


Scrolling this site with a mouse is comically bad, this is clearly designed to be used only with a trackpad. I cant read most of the content without very carefully scrolling unnaturally. You also have to pause for the animations to play, but if you scroll one pixel too far they don't play, so its a guessing game of whether you're in the right place or whether you missed some content.


Came here to say this. I don't get this kind of web page design. It absolutely sucks if you actually want content. I have to scroll a specific amount on my mouse in order to get content for that particular scroll distance. Just comically bad.


It’s definitely ridiculous with a mouse but at least it works using the down-arrow key for some sense of control over the thing.


I thought it might have been just me.


Basically all of macOS is comically bad with a mouse and clearly designed for trackpads. You need to install a third-party tool to even disable mouse acceleration.


I thought the third party tool was a kext and was made non-functional. Is there a new way?


I use SteerMouse. It lets you customize mouse speed/acceleration, remap all your buttons, and set up mouse chords.

It's admittedly paid and it's stupid that you should need to pay for functionality like this, but it's useful enough for other stuff (e.g. setting up buttons/chords to manage spaces to replace the trackpad gestures) that I live with it.


I still remember the Snow Leopard 'No New Features' launch. Mac OS has been as buggy as ever lately, I'd welcome another 'no new features' release with open arms.


I was going to say something similar - I really wish they'd just slow.the.hell.down with the new releases, rather than continually changing things for what feels like the sake of it (and breaking more and more stuff along the way).


This is a side-effect of employment and raises being dependent on launching new features instead of improving existing features. Something certainly not exclusive to Apple.


Except they did introduce new features like the stacks view.


An entirely new widget toolkit and an entirely new architecture is essentially the anti-Snow Leopard. :D


Perhaps they just undeleted Widgets from Mojave, it’s not like it’s a new idea


Precisely - this is the perfect opportunity for Apple to do a "no new shiny things" release, given that they are going through quite fundamental changes in their Mac architecture.


So the "About this Mac" screen says "Version 11.0" ... A silent farewell to OS X?


What was "silent" about it? They made a big song & dance of dropping the X last year. This just makes it even more official.


The X was dropped in 2016, with macOS Sierra. Maybe because they needed the X next year for the iPhone.


Man, after turning 35 and having kids, all years just blend into one ;)


That was dropping the X from the name, not changing the major version number from 10 to 11. It's had a major version number of 10 ever since the first release of OS X. Most people assumed the actual version number would stay at 10.x.x forever, regardless of any changes to the marketing name of the OS itself.


Probably as they already dropped the X before. It is macOS


I'm gonna guess that putting macs on annual major version numbers is just another piece of lining up macOS for an eventual merger with the iPad.


Wow, nice catch.


One of my favorite small things about OS X has been the dock icons and their variety in shapes. Like how TextEdit has the pencil sticking out or Logic looks like a DJ turntable. It feels like that’s gone now.


Having different shapes is also great for recognizing items quickly.

Sigh, here comes a trove of white-background icons to macOS. Relevant: https://medium.com/swlh/let-s-talk-about-white-app-icons-ce2...


The XCode icon seems to have the hammer sticking out a bit. So maybe there is still room for custom shapes.


They address that in the new macOS 11 HIG [1], indicating that protrusions from the square look "to combine depictions of the physical objects that best convey the app’s core purpose" are acceptable. TextEdit, Preview and Xcode all have elements sticking out a bit.

[1]: https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guideline...

That said, I still think overall it's a loss in terms of usability. (I find that without shape to distinguish icons on iOS, I often confuse icons that are broadly similar in color when I'm not paying attention, even though the images inside the roundrects are different. I can't be the only one.)


Perhaps they were inspired by qBittorrent, where the toolbar icons are all indistinguishable aqua blobs: https://a.fsdn.com/con/app/proj/qbittorrent/screenshots/2416...


Yeah, Mac icon design felt like it was hanging on by a thread, and now feels like it's being killed.

A significant piece of character that's just... gone. I think this is what bothers me more than any iOS-ification of the OS, on a UI/UX level at least.


I made the switch to Linux as my main OS for software development in the last month (archlinux with AMD Ryzen on a custom built box) and I'm not regretting it.

For a comparison, here is the Press Release for Snow Leopard (https://www.apple.com/ca/newsroom/2009/06/08Apple-Unveils-Ma... here is an excerpt from the text

> For the first time, system applications including Finder, Mail, iCal®, iChat® and Safari are 64-bit and Snow Leopard’s support for 64-bit processors makes use of large amounts of RAM, increases performance, and improves security while remaining compatible with 32-bit applications. Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) provides a revolutionary new way for software to take advantage of multicore processors. GCD is integrated throughout Snow Leopard, from new system-wide APIs to high-level frameworks and programming language extensions, improving responsiveness across the system. OpenCL, a C-based open standard, allows developers to tap the incredible power of the graphics processing unit for tasks that go beyond graphics.

Simple, useful information. Information and features that matters to software developers.

Instead in this new macOS we got: Safari, Messages and Maps. Apps that are not that much relevant (since people are too hooked in Firefox/Chrome, Fb/Ig, and Google Maps). If Apple wants to gain marketshare in these areas, that's fine. But they are pushing them to their base as a macOS upgrade. Huh.

The only thing related to developers is XCode "improvements". I guess the message is pretty clear now: The macOS is now only good to develop iOS apps and maybe do graphics/audio/video. If you are a web/sys developer it might be a good idea to start looking for something else.


> Apps that are not that much relevant (since people are too hooked in Firefox/Chrome, Fb/Ig, and Google Maps).

Anecdata: My family uses Safari, Messages, and Maps extensively (and Fb/Ig don't replace Messages, they're something else that gets used.) Don't confuse "tech people" with "real people", there's a world of difference.


True, but this announcement/keynote was delivered at a developers’ conference, so it’s not unreasonable to want content more relevant to that audience.


I think the keynote has always been aimed at the users (via journalists, I suppose) - in the ones I've watched, it's always been "surface level"; never much below "we have these spanky new technologies!" on a slide. The rest of WWDC is for the developers with the workshops and whatnot, really.


Apple has introduced all of these APIs and SDKs in previous OS releases. Now their software is starting to take advantage of them all with user features. This includes their machine learning kit, metal, ..

The Xcode release is actually pretty big deal for developers. The tooling is updated for this brave new world of ARM cores.


> Simple, useful information.

For you and people like you. Those people make up a minority of Apple's audience. It would be stupid for them to alienate everyone else in their marketing materials. But that doesn't mean there isn't real work being done under the hood.


They've added padding to the design nearly everywhere - "menu bar is now taller", "Dock is lifted from the bottom", and the extra padding on the Sidebars is obvious.

As a power user of a Macbook Pro, this is cutting into my screen real estate and not very appealing to me.


But think of all the space saved by turning every web browser's title bar into tabs or location bars. So what if you're left with 8 pixels to grab a window with your mouse and move it!


If you're a power user, you probably know that you can hide the dock and the menubar


My dock is tiny and pinned to the right so I can use as much vertical space as possible. This might push me to adopt hiding the menubar.

It's more about the compounding effect when other apps adopt this more spacious UI pattern for their title bar, sidebar, etc.


I'm wondering if this is the release where OpenGL goes from deprecated to fully removed.

Presumably Apple didn't want to write OpenGL drivers (full, not ES) for their in-house GPUs.


OpenGL is still supported. https://twitter.com/colincornaby/status/1275153748348682240

OpenGL drivers still basically have to be there because of WebGL on Safari. And if it's a derivative of the GPU on iOS devices, then the GL driver is mostly already written.


I wonder how this will affect java minecraft on the mac. Does LWJGL have a Metal backend?


LWJGL does appear to support Metal via BGFX. I would be curious to see how to patch the library to use this.

The other question I would have is how this behaves with shaders, such as BSL?

Links:

  - https://github.com/LWJGL/lwjgl3/blob/master/doc/notes/3.1.0.md
  - https://github.com/bkaradzic/bgfx


It does not appear to have a Metal backend - just OpenGL and Vulkan.

From what I can tell, commercial game devs treat Mac gaming as an edge case and mostly only the large engine devs care about Metal support (with exceptions, of course).


It looks like Minecraft is already using Metal. LWJGL makes use of other low level APIs by means of BGFX, since version 3.1.0 (per release notes) and Metal is one of the current targets.

Looking at a running 1.15 Minecraft instance I see it is using lwjgl 3.2.1 and there a link to "net.java.openjdk.cmd/com.apple.metal", when I do an lsof.

Any further insight would be appreciated.


Apple has been pushing Metal for a few years. I don’t think any additional effort will be spent on OpenGL.


Anyone know How this would impact webgl content running in safari? Presumably it's translated to metal calls from within Safari?


Probably. WebGL is only a small subset of OpenGL, so I think it wouldn't be that hard to create a Metal translation layer for it. MoltenGL was already doing this (https://moltengl.com/moltengl/)


It's been known for a while that Safari/WebKit are integrating the same ANGLE abstraction layer that Chrome uses. That will bring WebGL 2.0 support also. But the progress on that getting anywhere near shipping has been extremely slow. Several years have passed.


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