Apple has revealed sweeping changes to the Mac platform, amid accusations of ignoring it.
Computers from the MacBook Air to the iMac will benefit from new software – named Mojave, after the Californian desert – that will vastly change the look of the computers and allow them to use new kinds of apps in innovative ways.
The changes were announced at WWDC, Apple's developer conference during which it updates every one of its platforms. The Mac updates came alongside new versions of its mobile operating system, iOS, and the software that powers its Apple Watch and Apple TV.
The iPhone, as ever, was inevitably the most discussed part of the show. But its updates were largely unspectacular, focused on making iOS quicker to use and shaming users out of spending too much time on their phone.
Instead, the most dramatic changes came to macOS, the operating system that powers all of Apple's computers. Amid accusations that Apple has been neglecting its Macs, the company has publicly committed to giving them attention – and the variety of new features for the platform appear to be the result of that.
The most notable new Mac feature is not yet available, and won't be until 2019. But Apple chose to give a sneak peek at it anyway: showing off a tool that allows iOS developers to easily port their mobile apps into macOS.
That could allow for the creation of far more Mac apps, by developers who might not otherwise have the resources or the will to bring their software to the Mac platform.
Apple showed that it had already used it to bring iPhone apps including Voice Memos, Home and News to the Mac platform. That was an initial test ahead of its broader rollout, it said, but also allowed Apple to introduce a whole range of new software to the Mac.
As well as that change, Apple showed off a dark mode that works all the way across the operating system. Turning it on will turn all of the apps a much darker colour, allowing for a different look as well as improved visibility when editing photos or working in the dark.
It also showed off dynamic wallpaper, which changes with the day. Apple showed off Mojave-themed wallpaper, for instance, which showed a dune from morning until evening, matching the real time.
And it revealed new ways of tidying up the many files that usually get in the way of that desktop wallpaper. There will be a new "stacks" feature, which will sort all of the files into special piles – putting all of the images that often gather on the desktop into their own area.
Fewer of those photos will be screenshots now that Apple has brought the same screenshotting features from iOS onto the Mac. Now, when a user takes a screenshot, it will appear in the corner – and users can choose what to do with it, without clogging their desktop up with a host of images.
Taking pictures is also much easier, now, with a feature Apple calls "Continuity Camera". When the Mac wants to get a picture of something, users can choose to take that picture on their iPhone – the Mac will connect to the handset and borrow its camera, allowing for easy document scanning, for instance.
And largely invisible in the new software will be a range of security and privacy features. Apple will stop third-party sites like Facebook from being able to easily track people around the web, and it will try and deal with "fingerprinting" – a technique that data companies use to trace computers by looking for identifying features like what fonts they have installed – by stopping the computers from giving up that data.