Tuesday, June 8, 2021

macOS 12 Monterey Announced

Apple (features, John Voorhees, Mitchel Broussard):

Connect, share, and create like never before. Say hello to exciting new FaceTime updates. Explore a redesigned and streamlined Safari. Discover and invent powerful new ways to work using Universal Control and Shortcuts. Stay in the moment with Focus. And so much more.

Howard Oakley:

You may recall my rather pessimistic speculation as to which models might be supported by macOS 12 last week, which ran[…] I’m delighted to report that Apple’s confirmed list of supported models is considerably more generous[…]

José Adorno:

With the second major software update to take advantage of the Apple Silicon, here are the features Apple introduced that will be only available to its Macs with proprietary processors.


Update (2021-06-13): Joe Rossignol:

Apple has not explained why any of these features are not available on Intel-based Macs. For what it’s worth, Google Earth has long offered an interactive 3D globe of the Earth on Intel-based Macs both on the web and in an app.

Josh Centers:

Overall, maintaining support for old devices while restricting certain new features to more capable recent models is a great strategy. That way, fewer people are forced to buy new hardware just to participate, but the new features encourage hardware upgrades for those who want to take advantage of them.

Let’s dig into the details, first for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, moving on to macOS 12 Monterey with side trips for Universal Control and AirPlay on Mac, and finishing off with watchOS 8.

Howard Oakley:

Over the last few years, major versions of macOS have brought huge changes which many users are still wrestling with: a brand new file system (APFS in 10.13), privacy controls (10.14 onwards), loss of support for 32-bit code (10.15), notarization (10.15), startup volume groups (10.15), and sealed system volumes (11), for example. This year there don’t appear to have been any such shocks coming in the new.

11 Comments RSS · Twitter

I can't see any technical rationale for those features to be M1-only.

The technical rationale seems pretty clear - most of these seem to be powered by the neural engine for AI acceleration. Definitely not impossible to do on Intel, but there’s plenty of complexity and both performance and battery considerations that could make it less than trivial. Can’t blame them for skating where the puck is going.

Old Unix Geek

@vintner: Some of those features might rely on an implementation that is programmed specifically to use Apple's "neural engine": things that could be done in AVX but they don't want to make that investment.

Another really cool feature I found is that Mail Plugins are officially supported now! It's very limited, but cool nonetheless.


The supported hardware for AirPlay to Mac is surprisingly limited. Do they expect the transcoding to be so taxing that no Intel Mac mini is supported, and only some of the very final Intel iMacs and MacBooks? Even the cylinder Mac Pro is not supported.

Was anyone clamoring for making the title bar address bar tab bar everything bar even more compact? Even less grabbable space to move the window around? Even less space to show the URL (yes, I know that's more of a geek concern)? And the way I understand it, a horizontal moving target, so you can't even build much muscle memory where the address field even is?

Tab groups seem a good fit for my workflow especially on iOS, though. (Personally, I think I would've preferred being able to select a bunch of iPhone tabs, and create a bookmarks folder for them. There's probably a shortcut that does that…)

This is also the first time since I believe the 1990s that my current Mac won't be supported. I don't criticize Apple for that (although some of the fine print on which features are available on which Macs is annoying). I do, however, criticize them for why this is still my current Mac — butterfly keyboards, thermal problems, etc.

Universal Control is a cool modern riff on Synergy/Teleport/Mouse without borders/etc. I assume none of those do drag & drop, especially across three devices. Impressive demo. I understand there are some weird asterisks, like you can only start on a Mac (rather than an iPad), and it doesn't provide a UI for placing the device in relation to each other.

All in all, I thought it was a keynote with many small things, and rather few big things. It was nice that many things were coming to all major platforms on day one; it feels like they're getting to the point where the Mac lags behind less. Good on them.

Well, I hope that means they're updating the Feedback page for Big Sur:


The transition to M1 forces Apple to at least take a brief look at all their apps, and hopefully update them and modernize at least a little bit.
Yet somehow they managed to retain a lot of outdated and neglected parts of the OS.

Kevin Schumacher

> and it doesn't provide a UI for placing the device in relation to each other

Yeah, it does.

> But there’s a clever little affordance built into that strange bar [that appears on the iPad]. There are a couple of arrows inside it, a hint that you can slide that bump up or down before it breaks free into the iPad itself. Doing that is how you line up the iPad’s screen with your Mac’s, so that dragging the mouse between the screens doesn’t result in a weird jump.

I'll also be left out, as this is the first version of OS X that can't run on the Mac that I currently own. And I have no desire to get a new one anytime soon, until they fix the disaster that OS X is becoming. Monterrey looks like a further iOS Big Sur-ification of everything, with very few new features that I would actually use (and/or couldn't unless I had an M1 Mac anyway -- sucks for people who bought a Mac a year ago).

@ Kevin: what I'm saying is it has no UI like System Preferences, Displays, Arrangement. It's also not clear to me how that bar works once you have a third device.

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