macOS Catalina is here now, but in 2020 we can expect another new macOS. This will be macOS 10.16, unless Apple finally moves to macOS 11.
We can expect to hear more about the new Mac operating system at WWDC in June 2020, but for now we can only speculate and evaluate the rumours.
Speaking of which, it's possible that a new Mac is coming that will run both macOS and iOS, if such a machine launches what could it mean for the future of macOS?
What will the next macOS be called
As we said above macOS 10.16 looks likely, unless Apple decides to move up to macOS 11. That might be a nice way to mark the upcoming twentieth anniversary of the launch of Mac OS X on 24 March 2001.
Along with the numbers Apple gives its macOSs a name for a Californian landmark. We don't know what name Apple will grant macOS 10.16 in 2020, but we've made a few guesses below:
When will macOS 10.16 launch
Here are the dates when new versions of the macOS have previously launched, which could give you an idea of when the next new version might arrive.
- Catalina launched on Monday 7 October 2019
- Mojave launched on Monday 24 September 2018
- High Sierra: Monday 25 September 2017
- Sierra: Tuesday 20 September 2016
- El Capitan: Wednesday 30 September 2015
- Yosemite: Thursday 16 October 2014
- Mavericks: Tuesday 22 October 2013
On that basis Monday 5 October 2020 looks like a possibility, unless Apple decides that a yearly update to macOS isn't necessary.
New features in macOS 10.16
Right now we don't know much about what Apple has planned for the next version of macOS, although it is said that the company will be revealing details of its plans to launch the first Mac that runs on Apple's own ARM-based chips - not Intel's - at WWDC 2020. What could that mean for the next version of macOS?
Here's what we have heard so far:
Mac and iOS merger
Ming-Chi Kuo of TF Securities predicted some time ago that in 2020 or 2021 Apple will start to use its own A-series processors in Macs.
Moving to these chips could be a lot easier if iOS and macOS were to merge, but Apple's already said that won't happen. Back in March 2018. Apple CEO Tim Cook repeated his views that merging the two platforms would be a mistake.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Cook said: "We don't believe in sort of watering down one for the other. Both [The Mac and iPad] are incredible. One of the reasons that both of them are incredible is because we pushed them to do what they do well. And if you begin to merge the two ... you begin to make trade-offs and compromises.
"So maybe the company would be more efficient at the end of the day. But that's not what it's about. You know it's about giving people things that they can then use to help them change the world or express their passion or express their creativity. So this merger thing that some folks are fixated on, I don't think that's what users want."
However, despite Apple saying that they won't merge macOS and iOS, we have since seen the launch of iPadOS, which bought macOS and iPadOS closer together. So never say never.
In fact, there may even be ‘evidence’ that a MacBook with an ARM processor is in the works: Back in May 2018 there were reports that one of Apple’s manufacturing partners, Pegatron, was working on the company's first ARM-based Mac, which 9to5Mac claimed has a “touchscreen, a sim card slot, GPS, compass, is water resistant and it also runs EFI”. So maybe a Mac that runs iOS isn’t as far off as we might think…
Plus we have all the rumours about iOS 14 here.
iOS features we want to see in macOS 10.16
Over the years popular features of iOS have made their way to the Mac (and sometimes vice versa).
In the next version of macOS we would like to see features like the iOS Control Centre arrive on the Mac, giving access to System Preferences, Sleep, Shut Down from an easy to use and access menu.
An iOS style App Switcher could be a useful feature for macOS. Currently if you press Command and Tab together you will see the Mac App Switcher, which is similar to seeing the apps you have open by swiping up on, or double tapping the Home button on an iOS device. But unlike in iOS you don’t see a view of the actual page, just an icon. Alternatively Expose (F3) allows you to see thumbnails of everything you have open.
In addition, various iOS apps have made the transition to the Mac over the years, and we can expect to see that happen even more following Apple’s moves to make this an easier process for developers.
Mojave bought News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home to the Mac. These apps were the first ones Apple bought over to the Mac using the new processes it will be offering to developers. We’ll discuss some of the iOS apps we are hoping to come to the Mac below.
Other new features we’d like to see in macOS
Not everything we’d like to see on the new macOS is inspired by iOS... Read on for some more things we're hoping for.
Wouldn't it be great if macOS had a proper Clock app, with all the functionality of the Clock app in iOS including alarms, and a world clock so you know when it's 10am in San Francisco? A dedicated app with Alarm, Stopwatch and Timer functionality for macOS would come in handy.
Automation and Siri Shortcuts
Apple has spent a lot of time working on automation over the years. There are various automation tools for Mac, such as AppleScript and Automator. On the iPhone and iPad there is now the Shortcuts app, which isn’t exactly easy to use, but the fact that Siri on iOS can self-generate shortcuts based on common tasks you do is really handy and we’d love to see that on the Mac.
Say you do different tasks depending on the day of the week, you Mac could start up with the relevant apps open, and even suggest things you might want to do.
Health is a great app on iOS and Apple Watch, and we think it'd be nice to see it come across to macOS. Being able to keep an eye on your health stats from the desktop would help Health become a much more versatile tool.
Multitouch is key to how users interact with their iOS devices. It is unlikely to be implemented on Mac screens as Apple doesn’t, and has always indicated that it won’t ever, offer touch-sensitive screens. However, Apple does now allow those who link their iPad to their Mac to use the touchscreen of the iPad to control their Mac, so perhaps this is a precurser to a touchscreen Mac. We'd love to see some new multi-touch style features on the Mac.
Everybody loves the macOS dock, allowing for quick access to your most used apps and folders - but there's still room for improvement, especially for those of us that use multiple displays.
The dock is available across all connected displays, but it's always the same dock with no way to edit it on a per-screen basis. For those that use multiple displays to perform different tasks - from editing videos to coding and more - being able to have a separate dock on each display could speed up the workflow and generally make life a little easier.
We're still not sure why Apple replaced Save-As (Command-Shift-S) with Duplicate in its iWork apps (Pages, Numbers and Keynote), but we think Apple should rethink the approach. Whatever new approach to file saving they had planned hasn't gained wider industry traction, and it's just confusing to everybody who knows the Command-Shift-S is Save As.
In the meantime, swot up on your knowledge of Mac keyboard shortcuts here.
Time Machine, cloud backups and more
We'd like to see some changes to the way Time Machine works in macOS 10.16. Users have been calling for a way for Time Machine backups to be stored in the cloud. After all, our iPhones are backed up to iCloud so why can't our Macs be?
You may already have your Mac set up to store the contents of your Desktop and Documents folders in iCloud, the Time Machine backup could be the next step in moving our data to a location where we can download it all from should our Macs be stolen or stop working.
In terms of Time Machine, APFS - Apple's new file system introduced in High Sierra - could bring some changes. Time Machine still uses the older HFS+ file system. This is because Time Machine currently relies on directories, and creates hard links to them. APFS doesn't support hard links to directories, it creates symbolic links (or aliases) instead.
So Time Machine has to use HFS+ to work right now, but in the next version of macOS, Apple could update Time Machine to use APFS snapshots for file linking, rather than hard links.
As for backing up to the cloud, with cloud storage prices falling, we think it's high time Apple brought cloud backup directly into macOS. You might have to pay extra for the solution, but it'd be a much better system than backing up Macs to external drives.
If you're not completely up to date on Time Machine, here's a Complete guide to Time Machine.
Merge Siri and Spotlight
This feature is more for convenience, rather than anything else and will provide greater integration of both local and internet-based searches. This principle is similar to the way Microsoft integrated its own voice-based tool, Cortana into the search function of Windows 10. Of course, if you prefer not to use Siri you can always disable it from the settings.
Snap more windows in Full screen view
Speaking of Windows 10, we like the way users can snap four different application windows to a grid, so that each takes a quarter of the screen - it's a nice neat way of working with multple applications and looks great on a big screen. Apple can only 'snap' two applications per screen in 'full screen view'.
Store multiple clippings on Clipboard
This is also a Windows only feature right now - the ability to store multiple clippings on your Clipboard. Right now on macOS you can copy something and then paste it onto any device that's connected to your Apple ID and iCloud, but you are limited to one item at a time. How useful would it be to be able to go back to the thing you copied half an hour ago?
In Windows 10 you can screengrab something in a freehand shape, rather than being limited to a square or rectangle.
Ever needed to go back to something you were working on a week ago before you got sidetracked into doing something else? Do you have specific projects that come up from time-to-time? Microsoft has a Timeline that allows you to jump back a few weeks to all the things you were working on then, recreating that working environment. This could be a handy feature for macOS too.
iPhone auto unlock
macOS Sierra brought us auto unlock using an Apple Watch, but we're sure many would appreciate the option to unlock their Macs with their iPhones - a class of device owned by far more people.