It doesn’t take long after a product release for the rumour mill to start up once again for a fresh round of speculation about its successor. That’s especially true of Apple products, both hardware and software.
Apple’s release schedule tends to work on an annual cycle so it doesn’t take much of a leap to predict that it will talk to developers about the next version of macOS at WWDC in June this year, with the software becoming available later on as a free update for owners of compatible Macs.
We are – along with just about everyone else – assuming that Apple will name it macOS 10.14, but that (being an assumption) means it may be called something else. macOS 11, perhaps. It would be nicer if macOS and iOS were in sync, and iOS 12 will be the version number for 2018.
When is macOS 10.14 coming out?
- Public beta: July 2018
- Final release: September 2018
In the last few years, there’s been a pattern of announcement at WWDC in June, a developer beta available almost immediately, then a public beta around a month later.
Beta testing has typically been over by September, which is when the ‘final’ version is made available to the general public.
There’s no reason to suspect anything will be different in 2018. And given that macOS updates have been free for the last few years, it’s sure to be the case again this year.
What new features will be in macOS 10.14?
There really isn’t much information around yet: few rumours and only a couple of tidbits from Apple itself.
Craig Federighi reportedly said – in an internal meeting in January 2018 - that Apple would focus on security and performance improvements in both macOS and iOS this year.
This is likely to mean there won’t be a host of new front-end features but instead much work going on behind the scenes.
One indisputable fact is that the next version of macOS will support only 64-bit apps. Apple announced this last year, warning developers that as of January 2018, new apps must support 64-bit and existing apps must do so from June 2018.
Another persistent rumour is that the next version of macOS will support iOS apps. The main reason that Apple might want to bring mobile apps to the desktop is because developers currently focus on iOS rather than macOS.
At least that’s according to a Bloomberg report which describes the Mac App Store as “a ghost town of limited selection and rarely updated programs”.
Quite how this will work is still a mystery: Macs have Intel processors rather than the Apple-designed A-series chips in iPhones and iPads. Plus, they don’t have touchscreens, but iOS apps are designed precisely for touchscreen use.
Apple has repeatedly hinted that it would never put a touchscreen on a Mac or merge macOS and iOS, including when Tim Cook stated in 2015 that "We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad” and, prior to that in 2012, "You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but you know those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user.”
Still, it wouldn’t be the first time that it changed its mind on a seemingly immovable principle. Steve Jobs famously said that no-one would want to buy a phone with a big screen and that if you ever saw a stylus on an iPad, “they blew it”.
Touchscreens have been available on Windows laptops and PCs for years and although there are still elements which don’t lend themselves to fingertip control, such screens certainly have their place.
A convergence of macOS and iOS could have other benefits beyond the apps themselves, too. For example, Android users have long been able to install apps on their compatible devices remotely via a web browser. We’d like to see Apple implement something similar in macOS where you’d be able to manage every device associated with your Apple ID from your iMac or MacBook.
Some integration exists already, of course, with Handoff, Universal Clipboard and Auto Unlock just a few of the Continuity features you can use today.
There aren’t really any other rumours of new features to expect in macOS 10.14, but when they surface we’ll be sure to add them here.