Moving on from iOS 10, we get to OS X, and the biggest news is the forthcoming death of HFS+, but before we get there, Apple made it official: OS X is now macOS, causing millions of slightly peculiar people like myself to twitch every time we have to type it out. It should, of course, be called Mac OS, but maybe that’s why I’m a sad, lonely translator, and Apple has so much money it can buy, like, I don’t know, Belgium. macOS Sierra (10.12? We don’t yet know) will be coming this fall.
With that out of the way: Apple announced a brand new file system. You’d think big news like this would be front and centre during the keynote, but I guess not everybody gets bug-eyed by the supposed brutal murder of HFS+. In any event, the new Apple file system is called Apple File System – because, you know, Apple is for creative snowflakes – and it’s been designed to scale from the Apple Watch all the way up to
Mac OS macOS (this is not going to work out). Since I’m by far not qualified enough to tell you the details, I’ll direct you to Ars, where they’ve got a good overview of what APFS is all about, or you can dive straight into Apple’s technical documentation.
For the rest, macOS was pretty under-served at WWDC, as expected. Siri is coming to the Mac, and there’s things like a universal clipboard that works across devices, and Apple states that every application can be tabbed now – basically all multi-window applications can be tabbed, without developer input. I’m kind of curious how this will work in practice. Lastly, Apple is making it first steps towards macOS treating the file system like iOS does it (i.e., pretending it doesn’t exist), by using iCloud to automatically sync your desktop and documents folder. All optional now, but you can expect this to expand and eventually be mandatory, and cover all user-facing files.
One final tidbit: the Mac App Store has been effectively declared dead – all the APIs that were previously only available to MAS applications, are now available to everyone. And nobody shed a tear.
As always, there’s more, but this is the highlight reel.
Since APFS is in developer preview until sometime in 2017, it’s probably good to not make a big deal about it at the keynote.
Given how strongly more advanced filesystems are tied to virtual memory architectures (such as ZFS and to a certain extent btrfs), and how OS X is somewhat unique kernel-wise, I’m not too surprised that the way forward is a new FS altogether.