2017 things to look forward to with Mac and Apple

There’s a few things I’m looking forward to with having the new 2017 iMac. There have been good improvements to the hardware since the 2011 version of the iMac I've been using. I'm looking forward to having the retina screen and also the updated Bluetooth. With this new version of Bluetooth I'll be able to use my Apple Watch to unlock my iMac. It's only a small thing but when you do it often it's a big time saver. Instead of having to type in the password to the iMac every time I want to use it, I'll only need to be in close proximity with my Apple watch and hey presto.

Faster processor and faster hard drive

The upgrades in the speeds of the processors have not been as huge as they used to be. Even so, there's still going to be a big difference between a 2011 iMac compared to this new 2017 iMac. I've gone for the top of the range on the iMac line. I went for the option to get the i7 processor which has four cores working at 4.2 GHz and a turbo boost to 4.5 GHz. It'll be great To have the SSD internally. With the iMac I'm running at the moment I have an SSD drive hanging off the back through Thunderbolt. It was the best way to get the benefits of an SSD without having to pull apart the computer. By using it with Thunderbolt it worked out just as fast as having an internal drive. That was with Thunderbolt 2 and this new computer will be working with an updated version which is probably faster. I expect to also benefit from having 8 GB of video RAM which is available in this top of the range computer.

Improvements coming in the OS – High Sierra

The demonstration made at 2017 WWDC showed that using the new Apple file system it would be much faster when moving files from from one place to another. There are plenty of other technical advantages to using the new file system which we already use in the iOS devices.

Going on Safari

It can be really annoying when you visit a website and you are suddenly blasted with music you don't like from adverts you have no interest in. In macOS High Sierra we are getting smarter browsing in Safari. Safari will automatically mute audio and video on every site visited unless you tell it otherwise. There was one Mac based website I visited occasionally but vowed to never return due to this problem with auto playing of audio and video. Maybe I'll be able to start looking at that site again.

You know how sometimes when you’ve just bought item from Amazon you see a whole lot of adverts showing you the same item and others like it. The new version of Safari will be introducing privacy protection to stop that sort of cross site tracking behaviour. The other useful addition to Safari is the ability to put it into the reader mode for all webpages on which it is available. It'll be great to have that as the default behaviour. This will be another way to protect your eyes and brain from looking at unnecessary garbage.

A new thing called Metal 2 will give us a boost in graphical power. It's this that will make virtual reality on the iMac possible. It might even be possible to use the Oculus Rift headset. The headset that was shown off at the Apple keynote was the HTC Vive. I know I was quite impressed with the virtual reality demonstration given during the keynote. Whether I'll be able to use it or not is another thing.

Improvements to the photos app

I love using the Photos app which has gradually increased its usability since it took over from the Aperture application. I particularly like the way I can use it to send photos out to other applications for editing. There are improvements in the basic editing you can do including the use of curves. This will provide hours of endless fun tweaking photos so they look just perfect. I will probably still send many photos out to Affinity Photo or Intensify Pro for tweaking.

We will now be allowed to edit live photos to do such things such as changing the index image. This is the image which shows up as the still image before it starts playing. It'll be quite interesting to set photographs up with repeating loops and bounces. It's also going to be a fairly handy trick to take a long exposure shot from the live photo.

Improved compression for photos and videos

The high efficiency video coding HEVC which will also be known as H.265 can compress video up to 40% more than the H.264. Obviously this will be useful because it will stream better and take up less space on the Mac and on our iPads and iPhones. There will also be the new photo standard to take over from JPEG. HEIF is hugely more efficient than JPEG photos will look better and will also be smaller. with the fact we are moving over to SSD storage and having to make do with smaller space for our data this is going to be very useful. There are other advantages with this new photo compression standard. It's going to be good for the live photos and I think it also will be storing depth information.

Improvements to the mail app

It's always problematic when they make changes to the mail app because he often breaks the connection to the encryption software I use. It's for that reason I changed to using Airmail 3 as my preferred email client. The changes to the mail app will not make too much difference to me. I’m unlikely to start using Apple Mail app with macOS High Sierra.

Looking forward to improvements with the Notes app

On the Mac will be able to pin important notes so they'll stay at the top of the list. This will give us quick access to those notes. The other useful change to notes will be the support for tables which seems to be a basic requirement for a notes application. Many iPad users will make more use of Notes because of the feature in iOS 11 where you can go right into a new note by touching the Apple Pencil on the Lock Screen.