If you take a look at what innovations macOS Monterey has brought this year, you will notice that the new features in FaceTime, Messages and the Shortcuts app are borrowed from the iPad and iPhone. But beyond these there aren't many more possibilities for aligning macOS apps with those of iPadOS and iOS. Maybe Apple will replace Launchpad on the Mac with App Library so that the programs are sorted by category as on the iPad and iPhone. Any further development of apps that can be found on all three platforms will probably take place in parallel.

How Apple can use machine learning

Machine learning-based text recognition in images, which was introduced on the Mac, iPad and iPhone in the 2021 system updates, benefits from the neural engine of Apple chips. A neural engine was first built into the A-chips of iPhones and iPads and is now also part of the M1 chips in many Macs. Live text also works on some Macs with an Intel processor, where the graphics processor is used, but the function only really comes into its own with a Neural Engine.

We expect Apple to go on to develop other useful features based on machine learning for the next macOS. A candidate for advanced machine learning would be the Photos app, which could be improved with better recognition of people and image content. Machine learning could also contribute to the automatic improvement of photos and videos. However, you should also be able to switch off such automatic processes.

Other candidates for improvements through machine learning are text and speech recognition as well as the recognition of gestures using the built-in camera. Machine learning can also take place directly on the respective device thanks to the Neural Engine, which is an advantage in terms of data protection.

M1 M1 Pro M1 Max chips

Passwords and security for all applications

With the keychain, there has long been a way to store user names and passwords for websites that you visit in Safari, as well as passwords for network and email accounts. These can also be synchronized between multiple devices if you activate iCloud Keychain. In macOS Monterey the Passwords system preference was added via which you can manage and view all your passwords.

However, this password management only works with Safari passwords right now, other browsers do not use them. Also, passwords for email accounts and for access to WLANs or network drives cannot be found here, but only in keychain management. This is not exactly a shining example of ease of use. Apple could combine password management under one roof in the next version of macOS and possibly open it up for other programs, but this would get in the way of password managers from other manufacturers.

Apple may also continue the path to logging in without passwords via the open web standard Web Authentication (WebAuthn), which is only available as an experimental feature for developers in macOS Monterey. With this technology, which is based on the private and public key system, it would be possible to log in to websites or apps via Face ID or Touch ID via Passkeys stored in iCloud Keychain, without requiring any passwords.

Communication via Messages and FaceTime is safe from prying eyes thanks to end-to-end encryption. However, when communicating by email encryption is still missing. Although there has been a programming interface (API) with MailKit since macOS Monterey, which allows, among other things, Mail extensions to be added to sign and encrypt emails, but nothing has materialized so far.

Maybe Apple will manage to offer encryption in Mail in 2023. After all, since macOS Monterey, you already have the possibility to hide email addresses for privacy reasons, but iCloud+ is required for this.

iCloud+ could also use more intermediate levels for data, because for some users 50GB or 200GB are too little, but 2TB is too much and too expensive. How about a 1TB tier Apple?

The appearance

Monterey macOS

Since the appearance of macOS Big Sur had changed significantly compared to the previous version, we do not think there will be any further fundamental changes in the design of the user interface next year. Especially since Apple's Human Interface Guidelines have not changed since macOS 11.

Apple had tried to make a fundamental change in the operation of Safari in macOS Monterey, but then made the old version the default again and the new one only the option. Therefore, we do not expect any further fundamental changes to other applications that greatly change the usual operation. But maybe there will also be new options for other Apple programs to adapt the interface to your own wishes.

In addition, developers could make hidden functions visible that do not appear until you move the mouse pointer to a certain location, such as the options in Mail for saving the attachments or the close button of the notifications. Such surprise functions are not particularly intuitive.

It is to be hoped that there will be improvements to Maps content in various European countries. For example, Apple currently only offers cycle routes for a handful of cities as well as for California and China. For a company that is committed to environmental protection, this is an incomprehensible gap. It can't really be because of the money. Or perhaps Cupertino just doesn't want to compete with providers of navigation systems for bicycles? Rather unlikely, since the bicycle symbol is an integral part of maps, but unfortunately without function.

The macOS 13 engine room

Apple had already done most of the work to adapt macOS to the M1 chips before the first Macs with Apple Silicon were launched in 2020. However, since chip development at Apple does not stop, Apple developers will have to adapt and optimize the operating system and programming interfaces to the next generation of chips. These chips will probably have more CPUs than the M1 generation on the more powerful Macs, and perhaps also several of them installed in one Mac.

The new operating system must operate all these computing units without stuttering. However, as a user, you should not notice anything about these developments in the background, except that the tasks are done quickly.

Apple will continue to drive on two tracks for some time so that Macs with Intel processors can also cope with the next macOS. Monterey works on iMac, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air from 2015 as well as the Mac mini from 2014 and Mac Pro from 2013. The 2016 12in MacBook will also run under Monterey. See: Which Macs are compatible with Monterey.

There is no reason to assume that these Macs won't be supported by the next macOS, especially since the 2014 Mac mini was sold until 2018 and the Mac Pro from 2013 to 2019. With that in mind Apple can't remove it from the list when people might have purchased the model just such a short time ago.

However, even if these Macs are supported then you can expect that they will not support some of the new functions, as was the case in macOS Monterey. See: The Monterey features that Intel Macs don't support.

The name of macOS 13

Apple is likely to retain the tradition of giving every version of macOS a name in addition to a version number. This time the version number will be 13. As for the name we assume it will be named for an area in California as has been the tradition since Mavericks launched in 2013. Prior to that large cats were used as names for Apple's Mac operating systems.

9to5Mac found out that Yosemite Research LLC had the naming rights for computer systems to be extended to the term "Mammoth". You might assume that means Apple can't use that name - but the company has already acquired other naming rights and transferred them to Apple. Yosemite Research LLC also acquired the rights to the names "Monterey" and "Redwood" for computer systems, but has no longer extended the right to the latter name.

The term "Mammoth" stands for "Mammoth Lakes", a winter sports resort on the east side of the Sierra Nevada. So it could well be that the next macOS will bear this name, which could be seen to signify it being a large update. However, such a name could lead itself to jokes about macOS being an extinct operating system, so we don't think that Apple will use such a name.

This is part of a series of articles about what to expect from Apple in 2022:

Also see:

Apple Trends 2022: The High-End Macs Are Coming

Apple Trends 2022: iOS 16 will be a big surprise

This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by Karen Haslam.